In an effort to become more educated about adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and resilience and what is happening surrounding those topics in current events, I registered for Google Alerts for each of the aforementioned headings. As a student in the Community & Policy Arenas concentration of an M.S.W. program, I’m very interested in how policy is created, who it impacts, and how information about those policies is actually disseminated to the general public. Therefore, much to my excitement yesterday, two articles from different parts of the world discussed how childhood trauma should be a serious consideration for lawmakers when discussing the health and well-being of their citizens.
In an article from Sydney, Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), Australia’s premier childhood trauma support and advocacy organization, highlighted their upcoming report which explains the economic cost of childhood trauma on the healthcare and social service system. Specifically, the report states that “costs could be reduced through improved training for healthcare providers to help them identify underlying childhood trauma or abuse and make appropriate referrals.” In particular, they looked at four primary exhibitions of childhood trauma in adulthood: alcohol abuse, mental illness, obesity and suicide or attempted suicide. They found that if these symptoms could be alleviated or appropriately treated earlier in a person’s life, their country could save upwards of USD $9.1 billion annually, and that is even a conservative amount according to the organization’s leadership.
Another article written in Des Moines, Iowa by State Senator Matt McCoy highlights the importance of preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and other barriers to health and wellness for the children in his state. “No kids should have to grow up with those kinds of odds working against them.” According to Senator McCoy, changes are already being made within the state service sector to screen for children who are at risk for ACEs, provide appropriate services for them, and ultimately create systems that support healthier family systems and supports.
Overall, this was a big week for policy initiatives around ACEs! Hopefully as I continue to receive my email alerts at 5pm each day, I will start to see more about our political leaders and their advocacy on behalf of the establishment of trauma informed systems at all levels.