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Opinion: Supporting survivors of complex trauma on their journeys towards bettering their physical and mental health

2 min read
Blue Knot Day

Blue Knot Day is an Australian national day established by Blue Knot Foundation, the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, to raise awareness around the more than 5 million Australian adults living with the impacts of complex trauma. It is a day on which Blue Knot asks all people to unite in support of survivors. This year’s Blue Knot Day will be taking place on October 27.

Complex trauma is repeated ongoing and extreme violence, abuse or neglect experienced as a child, young person or adult. It is not only common but can have long-term impacts on an individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, education and employment opportunities. Many people affected by complex trauma struggle each day to connect, participate and simply feel okay within themselves. That’s why this year’s Blue Knot Day, taking place online as a digital Festival of Healing, is particularly timely.

The theme for this year’s day is ‘Nurturing your Mind, Body and Soul – Exploring What You Need’. All too often, survivors or those supporting survivors struggle with their own self-care. Nurturing your mind, body and soul is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and this Blue Knot Day is all about each person discovering what works for them on their individual well-being journey.

Related: Blue Knot Foundation welcomes Labor government, with high hopes for social justice and inclusion

As a society, we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the scourges of climate change and a world in conflict – we have all experienced ongoing trauma in one form or another. Looking after ourselves and staying calm and connected has been difficult for us all. 

For survivors of complex trauma who have often never felt safe and who may already find it difficult to be grounded or to care for themselves, having access to a range of gentle tools from which to choose can be a great start. Well-being is such a buzzword in our society and for many people experiencing complex trauma, it can appear seemingly unachievable.

Blue Knot understands the particular challenges people with trauma histories have in caring for themselves. That’s why the day will offer simple strategies and tools, focussing on self-compassion and ways to gently calm minds, bodies and souls. The information and resources will be rolled out during the day and available afterwards on Blue Knot’s YouTube channel, so people can access them if and when they choose.

On the day, Blue Knot will be delivering two free webinars and a range of resources and information through its social media channels. These resources are designed to cut through the buzzwords and provide survivors and those who support them with real and practical information to implement. The webinars will cover two topics: the importance of compassion and empathy, and how to build a connection to our bodies in the wake of complex trauma.

To learn more about Blue Knot Day and register for the webinars, visit the Blue Knot website.

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Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM is a medical practitioner, has the lived and living experience of child sexual and emotional abuse, and is the President and Executive Director of Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma and Deputy Chair of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse.

Under her decades-long stewardship, Blue Knot Foundation has grown from a peer support organisation to a national centre of excellence combining a prominent consumer voice with that of researchers, academics and clinicians. She is a prominent voice in the media and at conferences and co-author of multiple seminal publications around complex trauma and trauma-informed practice. Cathy has spearheaded calls nationally for socio-political trauma-informed change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma.


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