By now, you know ACE is an acronym for more than brand of bandages and toxic stress has nothing to do with chemicals. Maybe you also know that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) often leave a lasting negative impact on a child's mental and physical health. What can be done to change course? How, what, or who can help children build resilience when faced with adversity?
According to a recent study "The Relative Contributions of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Healthy Environments to Child Flourishing," lead author Iman Sharif, MD, MPH reports that the study found:
"Even when children were exposed to adverse childhood experiences, certain family and community strengths appeared to have a protective effect on health, social and behavioral outcomes. Among the most influential of these were having access to patient-centered, coordinated medical care, mothers who were in excellent mental health, and community supports."
As a doctor or nurse, your interactions with children and families have lasting positive impacts. In fact, besides your obvious role in providing patient centered care, you can also play a role in a mother's mental health and the community support a child receives. Maybe that seems daunting or overwhelming. Or maybe it seems empowering. Or maybe a bit of both.
Take heart knowing when you practice trauma informed care, you directly affect these protective factors. Trauma informed care helps you meet many of the same tenets as patient centered care. Trauma informed care utilizes screening to address the mental and emotional health of children and parents/caregivers. Trauma informed care encourages providers to assess a family's support system and refer them to the necessary community support. Learn more about how you can easily implement trauma informed care into your daily practice and join the discussion about trauma informed care on our Facebook page!