Image by Robina Weermeijer

USING THE SCIENCE OF TRAUMA AND THE STORIES OF RESILIENCE TO

UNDERSTAND HOW, TOGETHER, WE CAN TRANSFORM

HOW OUR COMMUNITIES SEE AND SUPPORT PEOPLE IMPACTED BY

SUBSTANCE USE AND ADDICTION.

Brains Journey to resilience:

Lifelong health is determined by more than just our genes: experiences at sensitive periods of development change the brain in ways that increase or decrease risk for later physical and mental illness, including addiction. That finding is the premise of the Brain Story, which puts scientific concepts into a narrative that is salient to both expert and non-expert audiences. The Brain Story synthesizes decades of research and reflects a body of knowledge that experts agree is useful for policy-makers and citizens to understand.

AFWI LEARN MORE
Brain Story Certification Course
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ACEs

Understanding that all children NEED safe, nurturing, and healthy environments and supports to grow with resilience, means also understanding that not all children are able to receive this within their home.

ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES  (ACES)

the 1998 ACEs study (which is where the term ACEs came from) studied the prevelance and impact of  childhood stress, with a focus on these forms of stress:

  • abuse: physical, emotional, sexual

  • neglect: emotional, physical

  • household dysfunction:

    • parental mental illness,

    • parental addiction,

    • incarcerated parent,

    • losing a parent to death or divorce.

Today, it also includes chronic poverty and systemic racism

                                                                

When stress responses are activated frequently, intensively, and persistently during early childhood, the systems involved can become permanently calibrated to activate more easily and may not turn off as readily as they should.

Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

centre on the developing child

Blindspots:

The study:
1. was predominantly white, middle class, college educated males, which excludes the expereinces of groups who feel the oppression of systemic racism and discriminatory policies. 
2. did not take into consideration the social determinants of health and systemic issues that contribute to and perpetuate toxic stress in families.
3. did not consider the protective factors in an individual's life


THE ACES STUDY SHOULD ONLY BE USED AS A TOOL TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE PREVALENCE OF CHILDHOOD TOXIC STRESS IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND ENCOURAGE US TO SEEK OUT FURTHER KNOWLEDGE ON HOW TO DISMANTLE THE SYSTEMS THAT  PREVENT FAMILIES FROM HEALING. 

Intergenerational Trauma: Residential Schools

When we come togtether as a community and increase the protective factors a family has, we can prevent the risk associated with toxic stress and/ or mitigate any risk associate with childhood adversity.

COMMUNITY CARE.

Dr. Michael Ungar: Resilience Theory

The ACE Study: Building Self-Healing Communities

with Dr. Robert Anda:

“ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES ARE PROGRESSIVE, OF COURSE THEY EFFECT CHILDREN, BUT THEY PILE UP IN ADOLESCENTS AND INTO ADULTHOOD.

 

OUR JOB IS TO STOP THE PROGRESSION AND CREATE

SELF HEALING COMMUNITIES."

"Ending Discrimination with Love, Glitter, and Action" with

Cindy Blackstone

Additional Resources

Intergenerational Trauma: Africville