Breaking Free - September 2021

From the Editor

Welcome to this month’s Breaking Free.  These past few weeks have marked an important milestone for Blue Knot Foundation as we grow as an organisation.  You will have noticed our striking and bold new brand identity.  We have also launched two new websites.  The Blue Knot Community website which caters specifically to survivors and supporters, is much easier to navigate and provides ready access to information and support resources.  The Blue Knot Professional Community website, which links seamlessly with the community site, is specifically tailored to meet the needs of practitioners, service providers and leaders.

We’ve already received amazing feedback from our community of survivors, supporters and professionals, and we thank you for your continued support of the work that we do.

Blue Knot Day is also fast approaching.  We have included more information about the program, including two webinars; Understanding Complex Trauma and Strategies to Support Yourself, and; Exploring how to build a trauma informed community – Caring for Others.  Both webinars require you to pre-register and spaces are limited, so if this is something that would be of interest to you, we invite you to register as soon as possible.

We are also thrilled to announce the re-release of the ground-breaking film, “The Wisdom of Trauma”, featuring Dr. Gabor Mate.  Blue Knot’s work like that of Gabor Mate focusses on possibilities for healing and trauma awareness.  You can sign up and get more details here: https://blueknotfoundation–

Until next time, take care.
The Blue Knot Team

Building a Trauma-Informed Community

Our theme this Blue Knot Day is Building a Trauma-Informed Community. This means different things to each of us, but we thought we’d share some of what it means to us at Blue Knot.

We know that many people have been and continue to be harmed by others whether that harm is intentional or not. We also know that these experiences of harm can cause us to feel unsafe in the world and with one another. Some of us aren’t safe, either physically or emotionally and we struggle to find a safe place to be, including within ourselves. Many of us have been betrayed by others, often those who we should have been able to trust and depend on, and even as children when we didn’t have the skills to depend on ourselves. Many of us have been disrespected and not treated with dignity and our rights have been ignored or violated.

That’s why we want to build a community with empathy, compassion and understanding for all of humanity but especially for everyone who is living with the effects of trauma. A community in which no one experiences additional trauma, and especially when seeking help and support.

So how do we build a trauma-informed community?

Despite the large numbers of people affected by trauma, many of us often don’t consider that a person we meet, speak with or are supporting may have experienced trauma. We may have our own trauma history as well but might not be tuned into it as much as we might be. This makes us less likely to recognise trauma in our own lives and that of others and how it might be affecting us and them. Keeping the possibility of trauma on our radar means keeping the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of people who may be trauma survivors in mind. It means being respectful, acknowledging and understanding, empathic and compassionate, and if we are affected, being gentle and forgiving with ourselves. All of this is easier said than done sometimes but it is a process which can happen at its own pace over time.

What happened to you?

Having a basic understanding of stress, traumatic stress, the stress response and what happens with repeated stress helps us know what to look for in ourselves and others. It helps us pay attention to the way we engage with other people, as well as to ‘what’ we do. It helps us reflect about what may have happened to a person, rather than judging what is ‘wrong’ with them. It is always helpful to ask ourselves when speaking with someone else: What happened to you?

Our interactions with one another are always important. They are especially important for people living with the impacts of trauma. Trauma interrupts the connections between our different systems of functioning – the physical, emotional and cognitive (thinking). Recovery occurs when these different systems of functioning become connected or ‘integrated’ again and we can all play a role in this process.

Importance of relationships

Positive experiences in our relationships can help us heal just as negative experiences can cause us emotional and mental distress. It is important to acknowledge the capacity of positive interactions, even in routine interactions, to be soothing and validating. This applies to all of us, and especially to all of us who have experiences of trauma. Support is crucial to the process of recovery. This means support in relationships so we can have the positive experiences of relationships which are central to the process of recovering from trauma as well as to our general well-being.

As we all adopt the trauma-informed principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment, and become inclusive and accepting of all, we can build a ‘trauma-informed’ community. Relating to one another in a trauma-informed way focusses on improving the ways in which we treat one another as human beings. This means tuning in to our differences and individual needs, with greater acceptance and understanding. We can all play a part in creating a trauma-informed community. Please join our Blue Knot Community or Professional Community and help us in our goal of building a trauma-informed community.

Please also see our Applying Trauma Informed Principles to Conversations about Trauma fact sheet. This fact sheet is also available in Easy Read and other language including Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Vietnamese and Greek.

Blue Knot Day

A big part of Blue Knot’s mission is building awareness across the community about what it means to be trauma-informed.  The vision of a trauma-informed community which enables healing in which survivors are supported and understood is what drives us, and what inspired our theme for Blue Knot Day this year.  The theme – Building a Trauma-Informed Community allows us to share what this means for  everyone affected by complex trauma – those impacted by it and those supporting them.  This year, our program includes people with a lived experience of complex trauma sharing their experiences of what helped them in their path to recovery and their reflections on a trauma-informed community. We also hear from trauma-informed advocates and change agents sharing their ideas and experiences and have the opportunity to participate in trauma-informed activities.  In addition, we are excited to offer free webinars and other resources to provide information and support and help build a trauma-informed community.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Celeste, Andrew and Robert talk about their different journeys, the way they have coped and what’s helped along the way, including the difference trauma-informed support has made.
  • We are running two webinars to support understanding of trauma and then how we can use this knowledge to contribute to a trauma-informed community. The webinars provide relevant information for members of the community whether experiencing complex trauma or supporting someone with complex trauma. The webinars require pre-registration, so if you would like to join us on the day, please register using the links below.
  • Join us for meditation, trauma-informed yoga, and a mindful art session with clay. Janine also talks about trauma-informed aquatics and including the nurturing quality of water.
  • Louise shares insights from her own experiences and how they have informed her work with Indigenous communities in Cape York, and advocacy around of building a trauma-informed world.

Most importantly, we encourage you to take part and share with your own community in the lead-up and on the day.  Share your thoughts on what a trauma-informed community means to you, and use the hashtags #BlueKnotDay #MentalHealth #TraumaInformedCommunity.

We will be providing more updates on our program leading up to Blue Knot Day, so stay tuned for more information from

Blue Knot Day Webinars

Understanding Complex Trauma and Strategies to Support Yourself

A one-hour webinar that focuses on foundational knowledge about complex trauma for those who have had trauma experiences. Build on your current understanding of trauma and its impacts and explore different strategies to support your sense of self.

• Learn more about the types of trauma and their possible impacts
• Understand how trauma affects the brain and the body
• Learn how to identify triggers and strategies to manage them
• Explore ways to engage in self-care and enhance a felt sense of safety.

28-Oct-2021 10:00am – 11:00am AEDT (or NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS local time)
Register at

Register for Understanding Complex Trauma and Strategies to Support Yourself

Exploring how to build a trauma informed community – Caring for Others

A one-hour webinar that unpacks how we can contribute to becoming a more trauma informed community. Learn more about the trauma-informed principles and how you can support others who may be living with the impacts of complex trauma.

  • Discuss the elements of building our capacity to be trauma-informed
  • Learn more about the impacts of caring for others and vicarious resilience
  • Reflect on how to embody the trauma-informed principles in everyday life
  • Consider how we can contribute to building a trauma-informed community.

28-Oct-2021 2:00pm-3pm AEDT (or NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS local time)
Register at

Register for Exploring how to build a trauma informed community – Caring for Others

We look forward to seeing you at Blue Knot Day!

Special event – The Wisdom of Trauma

“The Wisdom of Trauma” World Premiere reached 4 million people in 220 countries in June when it was first released. This ground-breaking film provides an alternative narrative and a vision of hope, compassion and healing in our very divided world.

Blue Knot is honoured to be an affiliate for the relaunch for this film for its screening from October 4th-10th leading up to very our own Blue Knot Day later in the month.

The film features Dr. Gabor Maté, not only a leading trauma expert but a survivor who openly shares his personal challenges, with guest appearances by Russell Brand and Tim Ferriss. It is accompanied by additional talks, panels, meditations, music and integration sessions that feature over 30+ guests including Bessel van der Kolk, Jewel, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Schwartz, Ashley Judd, and others.

Blue Knot’s work like that of Gabor Mate focusses on possibilities for healing and trauma awareness. Our culture is not trauma-informed, and many people living with the effects of their trauma whether it is mental distress, chronic pain, physical health issues, addictive behaviours and isolation slip through the cracks, and don’t get the care that they need.

This is a film and series which inspires and unites. When we come together and begin to embrace our own humanity — to see each other not for what we’ve done, but for what we’ve been through – we can then begin to put the pieces together for a more compassionate world.

You can sign up and get more details here: → Register for the Global Online Movie Broadcast and Event – The Wisdom of Trauma and watch the trailer here:


Jayde’s Poem

*Trigger Warning – Suicide

If you ever feel like giving up read this.?

I know it’s tough
I know it’s hard
I know it seems impossible
I know it seems like you’re going around in a circle again
I know it feels like everything is failing
I know it seems like it’s never going to get better
I know okay believe me I do

But listen….

I’ve said this plenty of times no matter what happens no matter how bad it gets no matter how much you want to give up you’re not allowed you’ve gotta keep fighting yes you might not want to keep fighting but you belong here. I know everything is getting worse trust me I do but giving up isn’t going to solve any of your problems, remember everything that happens is temporary suic*de isn’t instead it’s permanent and once you’re gone you’re gone there’s no getting you back.

I understand you may think that no one loves you or no one wants you but they do me loves you and me wants you so if you feel like no one wants your or loved you I do I’m here.

You’re all worth so much more than you think and I know it sounds impossible to get through this but it’s temporary pain trust me. Your life is worth living you’re worth living you’re worth fighting for.

I’ve said this always and imma say it again but with more explanation.

Life is like a book okay.

So you’re given a book for an amount of time no one knows how long you’re gonna have that book for yeah

You then start reading that book it becomes boring and you give up reading it anymore. You close the book and put it down you’ve given up with that book.
It gets taken away from you someone’s comes and gets it or taken somewhere and then you don’t find out what happens.

Life’s the same okay

You’re given this life for an amount of time no one knows how long for
You start off your life and it could be going great but you get older you start to grow up it gets harder and harder to live life. You give up it’s gotten to much now you’re tired you want to go so you do but your life has been taken from you too soon.

So if you’re looking for a reason to stay here it is

You’re wanted
You’re loved
You’re needed
You’re worthy
You’re strong
You’re brave
You’re kind
You’re caring
You’re beautiful
You’re precious
You’re gorgeous
You’re a fighter
You’re not a burden
You’re not a waste of space
You’re not a waste of time
You’re not a waste of oxygen
Things do and will get better so just hold on okay cause it will get better
keep fighting
Stay strong????

– Jayde

Call for Research Participants

Have you settled your legal dispute out of court for sexual abuse you suffered in institutional or state care in your childhood?

Griffith University is conducting research to understand survivors’ experience of resolving their civil compensation legal disputes, to understand what survivors’ needs are when it comes to settling out of court.

The research is seeking to understand survivors’ experience in mediation or a settlement conference, and their thoughts and views about whether any changes may be necessary to assist other survivors to get the best outcomes.

The research aims to learn what survivors’ needs are in mediation and out of court settlement, what they are seeking from formal processes like mediation, and whether trauma and disadvantage impact on the process of settling the legal dispute.

Interviews will be for a maximum of 90 minutes, with your choice of telephone videoconference, (or face to face if you are in the Brisbane /Gold Coast region). The interviewer won’t ask questions about the abuse you experienced. No confidential information is being sought. Just your views about your experience and how things could have been better, or what worked well.

Please be aware that if you participate in the research, you will not be identified, unless you specifically request to be acknowledged.

We would love to hear your voice about your experience and any improvements that need to be made to make mediation and out of court settlements less traumatic for survivors.

The research is being conducted as part of a PhD study:  GU: 2020/622. The research team can be contacted at [email protected], or 0438 127 050.  If you are interested contact Louise McDonald (student researcher) on the above number/ email and she will explain the project further to you, answer any questions you may have and send you an information sheet.

Professional Development – New Calendar for 2022

“The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice”
Brian Herbert

Blue Knot is excited to launch our new calendar in October offering a variety of training formats from January to July 2022. The virtual classrooms and webinars have remained popular with our community and these will continue to be offered in 2022.

Look out for some new programs building on the current suite of trauma-informed offerings and delving into practice areas such as dissociation, memory and our second day of the Trauma-Informed Leadership Short Course.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks on our website!

See the Professional Community Calendar here!