CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Mental health counselors and community members in Charlottesville are building a network to help people heal from traumatic events - including the violent, hate-fueled weekend of the Unite the Right rally in August.

The Trauma-Informed Community Network formed in 2016 to help people understand how to respond to trauma.

Its mission became even more focused in the wake of what played out in downtown Charlottesville on August 11 and 12.

The network hosted more than 700 mental healthcare providers, school counselors, and community members for a free trauma training at the Paramount Theater on Tuesday, November 28.

Dr. Allison Jackson from Richmond encouraged the crowd to commit to making connections with people in order to have the tough conversations about why Charlottesville became the focus of white nationalists.

She says that means having empathy to listen to other people's perspectives to discover the deep-rooted trauma in the community that came to a head in August.

“This is kind of like moving a large train to the left - it's not going to be immediate,” says Dr. Jackson, who’s a licensed clinical social worker. “It's going to take a lot of thought and a lot of people to be involved to say - how do we create a more trauma-informed community? How do we create a place where we can talk about differences of race, religion, ethnicity?"

Jackson says people need to allow themselves to be vulnerable and have those hard conversations in order for Charlottesville to become a resilient community.

The Trauma-Informed Community Network is inviting more people to get involved. You can find out more by emailing the network.