Written by Abbie Roth for the Dispatch, May 3 2020
You might have seen the headlines warning that, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the current mental health crisis facing youth in the United States will only worsen.
Like adults, children are experiencing new or intensified stressors as a result of the pandemic, including loss of routine, separation from friends and extended family, and increased anxiety and frustration.
Some more extreme stressors — food insecurity, loss of a parent or extreme illness in the household, exposure to abuse — are classified as adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. In 2016, the National Survey of Children’s Health showed that 46% of all children experience at least one ACE. Nearly 22% experienced two or more ACEs. It is suspected that the COVID-19 pandemic will only increase those rates.
Research shows that ACEs negatively impact health outcomes in childhood and adulthood. But beyond that, ACEs can result in trauma.