By Mark Wiebe
Courtrooms are no strangers to trauma. This includes the trauma many defendants experience throughout their lives, and the trauma they experience in court as they stand before a judge. In Wyandotte County District Court, these realities are beginning to inform the work judges do when encountering defendants who live with behavioral health challenges.
Call them “trauma-informed courts,” as Judge Kate Lynch does in her care and treatment docket, or “Behavioral Health Court,” the designated name for a docket over which Judge Michael A. Russell presides. Both judges participated in a panel discussion March 8 as part of Alive & Thrive Wyandotte County’s efforts to promote trauma-informed practices in the community. Alive & Thrive, a Healthy Communities Wyandotte Action Team, also raises awareness about the impact traumatic experiences and Adverse Childhood Experiences have on the county’s overall health.