Tackling the Silent Epidemic of Childhood Trauma

 

By Katelyn Newman, U.S. News & World Report, November 18, 2019

RECOGNIZING TRAUMA AND grief in children and providing evidence-based interventions to help them cope with what they're experiencing in a healthy manner are key to reducing violence and improving their overall health and well-being later on in their lives, said Julie Kaplow, director of the Trauma and Grief Center and chief of psychology at Texas Children's Hospital.

"We know that if we don’t address trauma, these kids can go on to develop lots of major common outcomes later in life," with adverse childhood experiences connected to higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide risk, substance misuse and intergenerational transmission of trauma, Kaplow said during a conversation Monday with "CBS Sunday Morning" host Jane Pauley at the U.S. News & World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow conference in Washington, D.C.

About half of the children in the United States – nearly 35 million – will experience a traumatic event during their lives, Kaplow said, whether it's an acute traumatic event – such as exposure to a school shooting, natural disaster or the death of a loved one – or chronic trauma, including domestic violence or sexual abuse. Research at the hospital's Trauma and Grief Center, a SAMHSA-funded Treatment and Service Adaptation Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, has also shown that these early childhood traumas may result in violent behavior later on in life, with some of society's biggest problems, such as domestic violence, community violence, school shootings and sex trafficking, rooted in unresolved childhood trauma, Kaplow said.

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