First 5 Mendocino Expands Local Expertise in Trauma-Informed Care

Dr. MaryCatherine McDonald to kick off training series November 9

First 5 Mendocino is pleased to announce that on November 9, renowned professor, author, and mental health researcher MaryCatherine McDonald, Ph.D., will kick off a series of training events designed to expand local expertise in trauma-informed care.

First 5 Executive Director Townley Saye said, “We are so excited to introduce our new training series, starting with this fall’s inaugural event. We believe that by providing professionals and caregivers with the knowledge and skills to support children’s mental health, we can collectively create the best outcomes for our children.”

Saye described this event as a unique opportunity for mental health professionals, educators, caregivers, and community leaders to engage in meaningful discussions and gain valuable insights into the challenges children face in Mendocino County. Dr. McDonald will share information on the latest neuroscience research regarding trauma and provide practical strategies for promoting resilience and fostering healthy mental development in both children and adults.

Dr. McDonald will also share an introduction to her new book, Unbroken, which offers a groundbreaking perspective on understanding and addressing emotional well-being and how to effectively heal from trauma.

First 5 Mendocino is offering this comprehensive training series in lieu of their annual State of the Child summit in response to requests for more training and opportunities for community collaboration. The series can be taken as a whole or as individual, stand-alone events. Several diverse programs are planned for the upcoming year, including interactive workshops, expert panel discussions, and networking opportunities, according to First 5 Community Education Manager Megan Carson.

Carson said, “We want to ensure that our training events offer practical strategies and resources that participants can implement in their professional and personal lives. Ultimately, our goal is to make a positive impact on the mental well-being of all children in our community.”

Registration for Dr. McDonald’s presentation is now open. It will take place on November 9 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the SPACE auditorium, located at 508 West Perkins Street in Ukiah. Visit the First 5 Mendocino Eventbrite page to secure a seat ( This activity is funded in partnership with Chabot-Las Positas Community College District and Mendocino County Social Services Agency.

For more information about First 5 Mendocino and its upcoming initiatives, visit

About First 5 Mendocino

The first five years of a child’s life are the foundation for their future physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Through innovative programs, strategic partnerships, and community engagement, First 5 Mendocino promotes early childhood development, supports parents and caregivers, and advocates for policies that prioritize the needs of young children to improve the lives of children ages zero to five in Mendocino County.

About Dr. MaryCatherine McDonald

MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD, is a trauma researcher, author, and a certified life-coach. She has spent more than a decade researching trauma, grief, and resilience and has written several scholarly articles and three books on trauma and mental illness. Her latest book, Unbroken, offers a fresh perspective on understanding the trauma response as a strength response, not a sign of weakness or disorder. Unbroken begins from that premise and provides practical strategies that show how healing from trauma is possible.

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