We are living in difficult times. After the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia and in Durham, things feel uncertain and fragile. Then there was Hurricane Harvey. As the new board president of the Exchange Family Center, I wanted to touch base to tell you where we are and what we’re doing.
We are mindful of the study showing that Adverse Childhood Events (”ACE”) are strongly related to a wide range of negative health effects that can affect a person through his or her entire life. Negative health effects include substance abuse, engagement in high risk behaviors, and even early death. Is there a connection between ACEs and what’s going on in today’s world? Are we, and our children, adversely affected by the continuous stressful events in today’s world? Reporting on Charlottesville? Reporting about Hurricane Harvey? Living through Hurricane Harvey? So what are we to do?
First, hug your children, your parents, your family and your friends and hold them close.
Second, think about connecting with the Exchange Family Center. We are aware of the studies that demonstrate a connection between ACE and risk factors for disease, disability and early death. In part, these studies motivate us to work even harder to prevent child abuse and neglect by engaging Durham families in our programs: EChO, Parenting of Adolescents, and Family Support Services.
We want to continue our program work and to collaborate with our partner agencies and officials to implement programs and policies specifically designed to minimize and even eliminate ACEs. When children are exposed to chronic ACEs, which can involve family stresses such as abuse, neglect, and domestic violence, we know that those Adverse Childhood Experiences correlate strongly with the adoption of negative coping behaviors and disruptions in cognitive functioning.
Perhaps I’m overthinking the effect that a constant barrage of scary and negative news has on our children. I can attest that it is chronically stressing me!
If you want to learn more about ACEs or your ACEs score, go to ncjfcj.org or samhsa.gov. And please, check us out at exchangefamilycenter.org.