• Day 21

    Day 21 – Coping with Impact of ACEs on Mental and Physical Health

    On Friday, we discovered that current methods used to measure adolescents’ ACE scores (level of exposure to trauma) often exclude the impact of racism and discrimination on a child’s mental and physical development. Research clearly indicates that racism and discrimination do play a role in childhood trauma! Let’s explore this a little further by listening to a TedTalk by Nadia Burke-Harris as she discusses how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.

    Click Here for an infographic containing information on toxic stress and what we can do about it. 

    In Nadine Burke Harris’ TedTalk focused on the long-term implications of high doses of childhood adversity, she explains discoveries made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente. According to their research, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) can increase the risk for seven out of ten of the leading causes of death in the United States. Harris points out that most doctors are not trained on such threats of childhood trauma and as a result of this, provide misdiagnoses and prescriptions that do not resolve the root cause of the problem: childhood adversity and toxic stress. She further asserts that if doctors were to initiate an ACEs screening process at routine appointments for children, the children and their families would be provided with the support necessary to decrease the negative long-term implications of their exposure to high doses of adversity. The various forms of support and treatment might include home visits, care coordination, mental health care, nutrition, holistic interventions, medication (when necessary), and parent education. Harris and other experts deem ACEs as the greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation and conclude that if we recognize ACEs as a crisis, we can use the right tools to create solutions for this. The audience is left to answer the following question: Why isn’t the world addressing ACEs the way they have other public health issues?

    After engaging with the resources for today, choose one of the following options to address: 

    • Share your mechanisms for coping with toxic stress!
    • Tell us about an experience where you’ve witnessed a healthcare provider inquire about trauma or adversity. Why is it important for healthcare providers to do this?

    Share your response @LWScienceHealth on Instagram.