Adverse Childhood Experiences in Alaska
“Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic experiences, including abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with substance abuse, mental illness, or a parent
Childhood trauma may lead to serious health problems that last into adulthood and even future generations, researchers have found.
The cause: Children’s stress hormones can reach toxic levels that interfere with their brain development. It doesn’t have to be
The good news is that people can recover. Preventing ACEs and building resilience in Alaskans who have experienced them has the potential to pay enormous dividends, from less use of state health and social services to increasing the competitiveness of Alaska’s work force.
Communities and agencies statewide are already using ACE research. Homer teens lead sessions on building resilience, and schools from Kotzebue to Juneau use the finding to better understand students’ behavior and support student achievement. Doctors are screening for ACEs and incorporating that knowledge into their health care recommendations. Juvenile justice professionals have become trauma-informed. From public safety to public health to corporate Alaska - ACEs matter - and more Alaskans are becoming informed.
For more information about ACEs and ways to prevent them, see this report “Adverse Childhood Experiences - Overcoming ACEs in Alaska.” The report summarizes medical research and compares Alaska with other states. The report also discusses social and economic impacts, and strategies to reduce harm. For more detail, see an overview of ACEs in Alaska with data from the 2013 Alaska Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
The ACE Study is an ongoing research collaboration between U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente, based on an initial groundbreaking study between 1995-1997.
Click graphic below to view the YouTube video, Saving Brains, A Grand Challenge, produced by Dr. Mike Evans. (9:12 mins.)
Check back for more information and data as it becomes available.