Georgia Southern Hosts Mental Health and Trauma Symposium

SAVANNNAH, Ga (WSAV) — On Saturday, Georgia Southern’s Armstrong campus welcomed guests from across the Savannah area for the “Road to Resilience” symposium. This symposium discussed mental health and trauma-informed education and included a panel by Cherie LB Trice on Negative Childhood Experiences (ACE).

The panel delved into what ACEs are as well as what the community can do to intervene with the impact they can have on child development.

“This conference is about building a resilient community,” Trice said. She believes that resilience can be taught to children to help them deal with ACEs.

Trice is Director of Development at Greenbriar Children’s Center and in her panel she echoed a sentiment shared by many attendees and presenters: “We are the medicine”.

The idea is that the pathway to alleviating the difficulties faced by many people with trauma and mental health is not just medication, but also community support and awareness.

64% of Americans know at least one ACE. In Georgia, three out of five people studied said they had had ACEs. One in five Americans has experienced three or more ACEs.

An ACE can include things like physical, sexual or emotional abuse, separation from family members, food insecurity, etc.

This is important because ACEs are globally associated with negative health outcomes, particularly poor mental health outcomes. People with ACE are six times more likely to develop depression and 1.47 times more likely to develop cancer. They are also more likely to develop COPD and heart disease.

Children with ACEs are also more likely to be held back from a class at school, to be suspended and to drop out.

Although Trice emphasized that there is no solution to ACEs themselves – society cannot stop all trauma – there are ways to avoid these health and life issues.

The negative impact of ACEs can be mitigated in several ways. Yet one of the most important is giving a child the opportunity to form strong bonds with others in their life. It is important to note that these connections should include adult role models who can provide a sense of stability for a child.

“Don’t underestimate the ability you have to change the trajectory of a child’s life,” Trice said.

These role models can be parents, community members, teachers, or other positive adults with whom the child frequently interacts.

“That kind of relationship can be enough,” Trice explained.

You can find out more about the symposium by clicking or tapping on the link here.

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