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June 2018

Adverse experiences in childhood have a negative impact on physical and mental health in later life. Using a trauma‐informed model of care helps to support adult survivors, parents and children

Introduction Nurses may struggle to understand how adverse experiences in childhood (ACEs) can negatively affect physical and mental health in adulthood, and may not know how to approach patients who may have had ACEs. This article explains ACEs and their impact, and looks at a trauma-informed care model as a framework for prevention, early intervention and recovery. Adverse childhood experiences The term ‘adverse childhood experience’ was coined in the US in the 1990s by Felitti et al...

Sadness and Depression: Seeing the Difference, Knowing When to Get Help

Nobody welcomes feelings of sadness or dejection, but feeling down is sometimes part of life. Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion, and a natural response to loss or disappointment. Depression is a mental health issue, and a treatable illness. While it may not seem to matter what you call it when you or a loved one is hurting, it is important to understand how these conditions are different. When untreated, depression can raise the risk that more harmful behaviors will become established.

The Relentless School Nurse: Sesame Street in Communities & the Circle of Care

Two years ago, Sesame Workshop, the educational arm of Sesame Street, launched Sesame Street in Communities to offer support, guidance, and tools to those working with our most vulnerable population, our children. In the “About Us” description on their website Sesame Street in Communities they share their intention: “ Every day, you make a difference by helping kids and families grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Organizations like yours unite communities, foster families’ and kids’...

How much adversity did you experience in childhood? There’s an app for that.

Trauma is so pervasive in our society that it takes a rather comprehensive survey just to delineate the types of traumatic events children are experiencing. The survey asks a person what form of adversity he or she experienced as a child. It’s a checklist of potentially traumatic events, both large and less large. In our book Anna, Age Eight we leave the language of academics behind to describe most of these experiences as terrible, horrible, no-good and very bad. Through a search online,...

How do we know if our most vulnerable kids and parents are able to get the support the need? We ask them.

I doubt you would get an argument from anyone working at the Centers for Disease Control if you described the US as a country experiencing an epidemic of childhood trauma. How do we begin to address an epidemic? We can start with a hypothesis. In our book Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment , we hypothesized that if children and parents have access to family-friendly resources—behavioral health care, medical and dental care, stable housing, food...

Designing Child Welfare 2.0: Not easy. Just vital.

In our book Anna, Age Eight , my co-author Katherine Ortega Courtney and I devoted a chapter to how we can and must design Child Welfare 2.0. The model each state currently uses comes from one developed more than 100 years ago. Our experience working with child welfare systems, setting up continuous quality improvement programs (CQI), has taught us that while some systems are thoughtfully resourced and getting results, many face incredible challenges because of out-of-date protocols, old...

Get to Know the Finalist Campaigns Leading the ADL: Innovate Against Hate Program [www.adl.org]

Student teams across the U.S. have localized what it means to counter hate and extremism in each of their communities, then activated, measured campaigns for effectiveness. On Monday the Anti-Defamation League announced three student teams from U.S. universities who will advance to the final competition in Washington, D.C., on June 12 for the pilot run of the ADL: Innovate Against Hate program. Chosen as “best of the best” from 19 participating teams representing 16 states, the finalist...

How I Used Art to Get Through Trauma [nytimes.com]

I’m a writer, and I use words to tell stories. But after a tragic event in 1993, I felt as though words had lost their efficacy. Luckily, I was able to use other mediums, namely drawing and painting, to help me deal with what I witnessed. If you’ve experienced trauma, art — whether it’s drawing, painting or writing, can help you cope. Here’s how I learned. A Commute I’ll Always Remember On Dec. 7, 1993, I traveled home on an evening train. At some point, I dozed off, but as the train...

Elizabeth Rush's 'Rising' is a Clarion Call on Climate [psmag.com]

Writing about climate change is often fraught, and hard to do beautifully. Because the ruling party refuses to acknowledge that the problem is real, writing on the subject often lapses into a didactic style of pose. At the same time, it can be easy to fall into a doom-saying pattern that focuses on scientific foreboding, technical but blunt language about our dire predicament. In this context, Elizabeth Rush's Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore is a revelation. The book is the...

How In The News Should Our Children Be? [Movetheworldfilms.org]

Many parents have that experience when they are watching television news with their children, and something bad or inappropriate comes on, and they think, “Should my children be seeing this?” Sometimes it’s easier to say nothing and hope they missed what you just saw, but as I find out almost every time, kids don’t miss much. They may not understand it, but they saw it and they are thinking about it. It’s hard to know what children really understand. We watched the documentary film Bully...

An infant, a motel room, and a pile of needles: How we set up a vital institution to fail

I am prepping for an event at a Santa Fe foundation where my co-author and I will discuss chapter five of our book Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment. Of all our chapters, the one that made me the most nervous focused in reinventing child welfare. I was working with the New York City and Connecticut child welfare departments, setting up quality improvement programs, as we were finalizing this chapter. I was committed to candor but was afraid some...

Competencies for Supervisors to Address Secondary Traumatic Stress

I am thrilled to see that the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has just released an excellent new fact sheet that discusses the importance of quality supervision that organizations can provide to staff members at risk for secondary traumatic stress (STS). This fact sheet identifies the core competencies for supervisors providing formal support to workers who are exposed to secondary trauma. It is intended to be a developmental assessment for supervisors, to help identify...

Gazette editorial: Want to improve WV’s economy? Treat unrecognized trauma [wvgazettemail.com]

Virginia social worker Allison Jackson tells a story of being in a barber shop when a vocational counselor, clearly frustrated, ranted about the men in his program. They completed training, got hired, in good construction jobs, for example, only to be fired a short time later. “I’m so mad at these guys and they lose their jobs and I put them through all this hard skill training,” the counselor said in the story. Jackson leaned over and asked, “Have you heard about trauma resilience?” [For...

‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father [nytimes.com]

When he landed in Michigan in late May, all the weary little boy carried was a trash bag stuffed with dirty clothes from his dayslong trek across Mexico, and two small pieces of paper — one a stick-figure drawing of his family from Honduras, the other a sketch of his father, who had been arrested and led away after they arrived at the United States border in El Paso. An American government escort handed over the 5-year-old child, identified on his travel documents as José, to the American...

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