Opinion | Childhood trauma is a public health threat. Our kids deserve better.

Opinion | Childhood trauma is a public health threat. Our kids deserve better.



-Hands, hands, put your hands up
. Let me see your hands.
-Police, police police. -We have a level 2 MCI. Active shooter at
Stoneman Douglas High School. -Keep moving.
-Toxic stress is a health condition
like diabetes or asthma. It's the over activity
of the stress response, in response to adversity,
without adequate buffering. And that leads to these
long-term changes. -A wealthy money manager, whose friends have included
presidents and a prince, is behind bars
in Manhatten tonight. Jeffrey Epstein is accused
of sex trafficking and molesting
under-age girls. -What we're talking about is a fundamental
biological process. It's the way that children's
brains and bodies respond to high doses of adversity. These include physical,
emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect
or growing up in a household where a parent is mentally ill;
incarcerated; where there's parental
separation or divorce; where there's domestic violence; or parental substance
dependence. And these things have the affect
of both being extremely stressful
and traumatic for the child, limiting the ability
of a caregiver to be a buffer
to that stress. And that's why these are
the strongest predictors of risk of life-long
health problems. -Okay.
-Oh, my God. -What happens when kids are
experiencing very high levels of stress or adversity, is that their bodies
release stress hormones. And these stress hormones
can have an impact on children's
developing brains and bodies. Imagine you're walking in
the forest and you see a bear. Immediately the amygdala, which is the brain's
fear response activates the fear center and it causes release of lots of
stress hormones in our bodies. And they serve
an important purpose. They increase our heart rate
and how strong our heart beats. It opens our airways
and dilates our pupils. It raises our blood pressure
and our blood sugar so that we are ready
to either fight that bear or run from the bear. But if this process is repeated
over and over and over again, without that nurturing,
buffering caregiver, then it becomes overactive and can damage children's
developing brains, their immune system,
their hormonal systems, and even the way their DNA
is read and transcribed. The younger kids are when
this happens, the greater the risk to their long-term health
and development. What we're seeing with these
migrant kids, what they're at risk for and what they're experiencing
right now, is an identical
biological process to what we've been seeing
in kids and families who are growing up
right here in the United States. The nature of trauma is such
that we shy away from it. It feels overwhelming. I believe it's our obligation
to provide these children care, given the trauma
that we have inflicted on them and what we know about
the long-term damage that that can cause. If we believe and if we say
that we are a moral country, then we have to act that way. One in four Americans
have experienced four or more adverse
childhood experiences. That is adversity that is
significant enough to double the risk for heart disease,
double the risk for stroke, triple the risk
for chronic lung disease, and dramatically increase
the risk for life-long health problems. So this biological response,
it's about being human. It's there are no borders. We see this in every state
in the union, every community, every
ethnicity, every income level. -Onto your face! One of the most important
aspects of responding to this issue, it starts on
a very personal level. It starts with each person looking at their own
adverse childhood experiences and beginning to practice
basic self-care. It starts with opening up these
conversations in our families, in our communities,
in our schools, in our society, about how do we respond in a way
that is healing and not harmful. The science of toxic stress,
I believe, represents incredible
hope for us to be able to interrupt
these biological processes. And to be able to help to heal
the brains and bodies of children who have been exposed
to high doses of adversity, but it requires for us
to look at this problem and say, "This is real,"
and, "This is all of us."

34 comments

  1. And yet sweet f.a. is done to prevent the various forms of bullying & social exclusion in schools…

    Think perhaps there might be a link between toxic environments and violent outbursts when particularly vulnerable victims of bullying have no means of escape from it and no access to help?

  2. America has no morals, proof, just look at our ENTIRE History up to the present. The majority of people in US are good, but, this nation has Always been run by the hatefilled minority.

  3. Political correctness has gotten way out of hand!
    Criminals have got the upperhand to be evil and break the law.
    Everybody needs to repent and turn to Jesus. This is exactly what He warned us about and people ignored it and now look.
    If there's a school shooting and children are traumatized because of it, and rightfully so, the next day they're required to go back to school even if it's just to get help from the counselors, or else get attendance occurrences that count against them on the record. But some of them are too scared to even go and that is understandable.
    This new discovery of "toxic stress", is just going to be another way for the pharmaceutical industry to make money off of people that are suffering. Watch.
    Yes, we need to help people, but only getting them help if they could afford it, is not the answer.
    What the heck?!?!

  4. Ever since the British left india both high and lower caste Hindus began to do genocides of muslims systemically time to time what you see still continued,doing more and the situation now have become more grave because of doing more frequently and fanatically; Majority of Hindus in india have same facisist ,Sanghi mentalities; and do have immense hatred in their's hearts like zoinist towards muslims,They all support these RSS,Congress & now BJP terrorists network spread all across India whether they are high caste or low or lower castes Dalits not a single day passes you don't find these reports go unnoticed, they are killing Muslims brutally anywhere and everyday with all supports and terror finances provided by Modi government to its pocket terrorist network working very hard in every nooks and corners of cities and villages.

  5. Just talked with a therapist today about this exact thing today. I have panic disorder and severe recurrent major depression and anxiety and ptsd and fibromyalgia because of these reasons. Everyone deserves to live better especially children

  6. It is unbelievable to me that people that believe in saving all embryos don’t believe in saving all children.

  7. Lights for Liberty 🗽 July 12. An international candle vigil for those held in our border concentration camps.

  8. Sad, I experience the abused adults everyday. The Aftermath. Schools need to teach American values in school beginning at 2 years old to reverse or stop childhood trauma.

  9. Nadine Burke Harris is a real godsent. She is an advocate of the Adverse Childhood Experience studies, which absolutely prove the link between toxic stress and severe health impacts. So few people know about it but it is so vital. It should be as widely known as how to drive a car or how to make contracts.

  10. I agree. Our kids. Not migrant kids. How do you propose to help those who you're not helping now after you stress the system even further with millions of violent migrants?

  11. I predict Jeffrey Epstein will be found hanging on a doorknob very soon…..He knows all the secrets about the elites.

  12. If I could do anything about it I would leave more behind for these children than a narcissistic president and a religion engaged in the buying and selling of Jesus. My heart bleeds for these children knowing what parents are doing and leaving behind for them to grow up in.

  13. So when can we expect WaPo's hit piece on no-fault divorce laws and the people most responsible for wrecking the American family?

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