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47% of Missouri’s Children Have Had Adverse Childhood Experiences

Trauma happens when an experience of extreme stress – abuse, neglect, violence, death or instability –  overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope. When trauma happens in childhood it can create a lifelong impact. In Missouri, nearly half of all children have had at least one traumatic experience, according to a recent national study.

Findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) were recently released, and show that in Missouri 47.8 percent of the children under the age of 18 have experienced trauma through at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE). That’s slightly higher than the national average of 46 percent.

At Great Circle, we work with many children and families who have ACEs. Understanding the scope and impact of that trauma drives how we help them process the experience and develop new coping strategies to strengthen their mental and physical health. Much of our work is informed by the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ (NMT) developed by Dr. Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy; it’s an evidence-based model that focuses on brain science to determine the impact of ACEs on a person.

ACEs affect how we think, learn and react to people and the world around us. They can stunt our brain’s ability to function normally, and they can increase the long-term risk for smoking, alcoholism, depression, heart disease, and other unhealthy behaviors.

Examples of ACEs are: parent death, divorce or incarceration, violence in the home or victim/witness of neighborhood violence, living with someone with mental health/substance use issues or who has attempted suicide, unfair treatment due to race/ethnicity, and poverty or food/housing instability.

Learn more about the NSCH study by downloading the ACEs brief and Missouri-specific information here.

Learn more about how Great Circle is using brain science and a trauma-informed approach to help children and families overcome ACEs at www.greatcircle.org/trauma.