Trauma-informed schools: Supporting educators as they support the children

Suniya S. Luthar, Skyler H. Mendes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The focus of this article is on the important need for educators in trauma-informed schools to receive ongoing support themselves. That K-12 teachers should attend to their students’ mental health is now commonly emphasized and indeed is invaluable for prevention purposes. At the same time, teachers in general are at high risk for burnout, and there can be much additional stress from routinely providing empathic support to troubled students in classrooms. After reviewing the relevant literature, we provide preliminary data–based on first-hand reports from 10 teachers in trauma-informed K-12 schools–about major challenges faced and ways in which these might be alleviated. These exploratory insights are then discussed within the framework of current recommendations in the field of resilience in childhood. The latter clearly indicates that if adults in major socializing roles (parents as well as teachers) contend with high everyday stress, the most important protective factor is their ongoing access to supportive relationships in everyday life settings. The paper concludes with directions for future work, highlighting areas where educational and school psychologists might spearhead and support training efforts, and help to incorporate support-based interventions within schools’ institutional cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of School and Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • School-based mental health
  • burnout
  • resilience
  • stress
  • teacher well-being
  • trauma-informed schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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