What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

We must no longer ask, “What is wrong with you?”. We must ask, “What happened to you, and how can we help you overcome it?”

What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and what is their impact?

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How are ACEs counteracted?

  • Growth
  • Resilience
  • Connections

What is the ACEs Study?

The largest study of its kind, it studied 17,000 individuals, who were surveyed about ACEs, health behaviors, disease risks, mental health and substance abuse, and social problems. Ten categories of adverse childhood experiences were included. It was found that ACEs are highly interrelated, and that most people have experienced more than one.

Therefore, study participants were surveyed and given an ACE Score (a “stress dose”). People with higher ACE Scores are more likely to have negative consequences later in life, examples of which include: alcoholism and abuse, COPD, smoking, heart disease, mental health diagnoses, domestic violence, drug addiction, fetal death, liver disease, obesity, suicide, sexual behavior problems, unintended pregnancy, violence, workplace problems, homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, poverty, life dissatisfaction, and more.

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The Good News

This is where Healing Garrett comes in! We, as a community, have the power to prevent ACEs, and to counteract the impact of high ACE Scores! By shifting the dynamics in our families, communities, and society, we can foster resilience.

How? People who do well despite adversity do best in thriving, supportive communities, with 3 protective systems in place:

  1. Having a positive view on individual capabilities (this lets individuals feel valuable, worthy of help, and gives them hope for a better future).
  2. Fostering attachment and belonging with caring and competent people (by recognizing and encouraging strengths and talents, providing safety, and acceptance despite past mistakes).
  3. Fostering thriving community, faith and cultural processes (educating about the impact of ACEs, and beginning to see community members through a different lens, supporting resilience as opposed to humiliation).

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