Securing our country’s future is dependent on our ability to raise a future generation of bright individuals who are able to lead households and communities with confidence and kindness.

Unfortunately, the young children we will be looking to for leadership in decades to come, are often growing up in communities exposed to high levels of crime, violence and substance abuse, and the widespread nature of poverty and unemployment means that a significant number of these children will have experienced some degree of trauma.

Childhood trauma can and does carry through life-times and generations, negatively impacting health (both physical and mental), personal growth and opportunity.

Given the alarmingly high rates of teenage suicide, depression, anxiety and dysfunction, illiteracy, school dropout rates and gangsterism in some of our communities, we know that help is desperately needed and we have no time to lose.

Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood and untreated cause of human suffering.

– Dr Peter Levine is a contemporary psychologist specializing in trauma. He developed Somatic Experiencing therapy, and is the author of several best-selling books on trauma.

According to Steinberg (2014) “the capacity for self-regulation is probably the single most important contributor to achievement, mental health, and social success” (p. 16). Researchers have reported a relationship between adolescent self-regulation and adult outcomes, highlighting the impact self-regulation has on academic achievement, creating healthy relationships, maintaining a job and positive mental health (Mischel, 2014, Tough, 2012). In addition, the available literature indicates that adolescents living in high-risk settings are at risk for high school dropout, poor psychological functioning and lack of positive relationships, all of which are associated with self-regulation (Silk et al., 2003, Tough, 2012). High-risk settings are defined as settings where experiences of trauma, family conflict, community violence and economic difficulty are prevalent (Masten and Coatsworth, 1998, Tolan et al., 2004). Reference >

ACE Pyramid

Leading American Doctor talking about ACEs and what trauma does to children.

The CDC-Kaiser ACE Study

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and household challenges and later-life health and well-being.

A renowned physician and researcher, Dr. Vincent J. Felitti is one of the world’s foremost experts on childhood trauma. Leading the charge in research into how adverse childhood experiences affect adults, he is co-principal investigator of the internationally recognized Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a long-term, in-depth, analysis of over 17,000 adults. Here he talks about the increased risks that come when children experience trauma. Sober facts.

BBC report on “latent vulnerability” in children who experienced trauma.

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