Resiliency is the capacity to rise above difficult circumstances. It is the trait that allows us to exist in this less than perfect world while moving forward with optimism and confidence. Resiliency can help the brain heal, even at a very young age. In fact, recent research shows that the brain is a muscle that, with proper training, can heal and recover. As adults, we can teach children how to help their brains heal to recover from adversity.
Replacing toxic stress with practices that build resilience, children can learn to slowly under stress-induced changes to the brain. Practices such as mindfulness, deep breathing, exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and health social interactions build resiliency. By modeling behaviors that teach and promote resiliency, we can help children who have suffered trauma to lead healthy, happy lives.
How Childhood Trauma Effects Future Health and Well-Being
A growing body of evidence suggest that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects can show up decades later.
From a 1995-1997, Kaiser Premanente interviews 17,000 adults using a set of 10 questions to measure whether childhood exposure to trauma was associated with chronic disease in adulthood. The CDC and over 70 research papers have since discovered that childhood trauma leads to adult chronic disease, depression and other mental illnesses, violence and being a victim of violence, and even some cancers.
How Can We Help a Child Who Has Suffered a Trauma?
A trauma-informed approach asks: “What happened to you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?”. This approach is designed to limit or reduce on-going trauma with a focus on “safety first” and a commitment to do no harm. In this approach, the whole community understands the prevalence and impact of ACE’s, the role trauma plays in people’s lives and the complex and varied paths for healing and recovery. When we understand the role that trauma plays in children’s lives, coupled with the ability to overcome adversity and exposure to toxic stress and resiliency, we can begin helping children heal.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma-informed care, by which a “program, organization, or system:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff and others involved with the system;
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
- Seeks to actively resist retraumatization by exposing individuals to triggers without providing the proper support and sensitivity.
Interested in learning more about trauma-informed practices and procedures? We’d be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns regarding health care tactics! Contract us today.