Global Trauma Research
Stories of Impact
Brooklyn is a kaleidoscope of cultures, with neighborhoods changing with each new wave of immigrants. It’s home to New York City’s largest population of foreign-born individuals, with growing populations of African, Caribbean, and Asian immigrants. As the cultural and linguistic landscape of Brooklyn continues to evolve and diversify, so do the needs of the community.
While the American Dream is often painted as a hopeful endeavor, moving to a new country, losing cultural, familial, and social connections can be filled with trauma and hardship, making mental health support that much more critical.
In 2010, Brooklyn native Dr. Florence Saint-Jean began providing mental health advocacy and training through “The Trauma Project” with the aim of providing culturally responsive trauma counseling and education services to underserved communities. By 2014, the project was formally incorporated as Global Trauma Research (GTR).
GTR’s work centers around the four pillars of education, counseling, research, and support. The organization’s strategy-based workshops, presentations, and community trainings to ensure that practitioners provide counseling and therapeutic services that use culturally sound approaches to immigrant Brooklynites.
Brooklyn Org has really helped us become a stronger organization through their unflinching support. When you reach out for assistance, they’re always there to say, ‘How can we help?’Dr. Florence Saint-Jean, Executive Director
According to Dr. Saint-Jean, many individuals from immigrant communities often don’t consider seeking mental health support, especially if their cultural backgrounds don’t prioritize this aspect of wellbeing.
“We literally bring our services to those individuals and provide as much support as we can. This includes holistic healing, connecting people to Indigenous healing practices, and we recently started doing acupuncture and massage to complement our mental health work, all of which has helped keep our patient retention rate high,” she explained.
In addition to their one-on-one and group counseling services, GTR’s team also conducts research to advance new and innovative strategies in trauma care, mental health, preventative measures, counseling, and culture-based strategies. Beyond traditional counseling, Global Trauma Research also strives to provide holistic support for their clients.
Not only does GTR work with those who recently arrived in America, but Brooklynites who are second-generation immigrants who need support with their mental health needs and are the first in their family to consider therapy.
Brooklyn Org has supported a number of GTR’s initiatives, including the development of 24-hour crisis intervention and culturally and spiritually-specific individual long-term trauma counseling to participants with histories of substance misuse. During the pandemic, BKO also aided GTR in increasing their services to more of Brooklyn’s communities of color.
“We’ve been so grateful to BKO for all its support — and not just financial support,” Dr. Saint-Jean said. “They have really helped us become a stronger organization through their unflinching support. As a young executive director, I didn’t have a mentor — and I had to either learn through my own, through books, or through trial and error. But when you reach out for assistance, they’re always there to say, ‘How can we help?’”