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Almost Half of US Kids Have Experienced Trauma

Almost Half of US Kids Have Experienced Trauma
How many kids do you know who:
  • Live in extreme poverty.
  • Have watched their parents go through a divorce.
  • Live with someone who’s mentally ill or abuses alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have a parent who has served or serves jail or prison time.
  • Had a parent who died.
 
New research suggests that nearly half of kids in the US experience these types of traumas, which can affect their health, their learning, and their development. 
 
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed data from the 2011–12 National Survey of Children’s Health to conclude that kids under 17 who have been affected by trauma have “lower rates of school engagement and higher rates of chronic disease.”
 
The upside? The study found that adults and children can be taught to recognize the effects of trauma, and kids can learn to practice resilience. Understanding how trauma can cause problem behavior helps adults better handle the problem behavior, and practicing resilience helps kids better cope with what they've been through and how they feel.

Additionally, according to Psychiatry Advisor, study author Christina Bethell notes that trauma doesn’t have to have long-term negative effects for kids. “Supporting and teaching the adults in children's lives to learn to heal from trauma and learn resilience themselves may be the most effective strategy to implement immediately,” she says. Everyone developing a “habit of hope” is key.
 
Bethell and fellow researchers recommend “a coordinated effort to fill knowledge gaps and translate existing knowledge about adverse childhood experiences and resilience into national, state, and local policies.”

Read more
What teens with trauma want you to know
How adverse childhood experiences can affect later-life well-being [landmark ACEs study]
Complex Trauma: Facts for Caregivers [PDF]
 
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