SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Research shows that adverse childhood experiences—ACEs for short—are strong predictors of health and social issues later in life. Whether it’s going through parents’ divorcing, witnessing violence, being abused, living in extreme poverty or being homeless, or having a parent or close family member with a mental illness or addiction, these experiences can take a deep emotional toll on our children.
The more ACEs a child has, the higher the risk for poor adolescent and adult health. Frequent and prolonged exposure to toxic stress leads to lower educational achievement, lower economic success, and impaired social skills in adulthood. It also leads to poor physical and mental health, including increased risk of chronic diseases and addictions.
BROCHURE: Adverse Childhood Experiences
“Poor health outcomes don’t have to be the end of the story,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director at the Snohomish Health District. “We are learning more every day about resilience and what families, communities, and educational and other systems can do to protect children and support adults with ACEs.”
To help raise awareness about this important issue, the Snohomish Health District and Lutheran Community Services are hosting two special screenings. For Our Community’s Sake: Changing the Conversation to Heal Our Wounds is an event aimed at educating the community on what they can do to prevent bad situations from becoming worse
The first session is Wednesday, Sep. 30 from noon to 3:30 p.m. at Everett Historic Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett, Wash. Targeted at educators, community leaders, and policy makers, this session will feature the groundbreaking documentaries The Raising of America: Wounded Places and Paper Tigers. This session will also include a panel discussion after the films featuring:
- Janice Ellis, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge
- Mary Jane Brell-Vujovic, Snohomish County Human Services Director
- Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Snohomish Health District Health Officer and Director
- Joshua Webb and John Dineen, Counselling Director and School Psychologist with Marysville-Pilchuck High School
- Sophia Beltran, Cocoon House Prevention Manager/ACEs Trainer
- Tory Henderson, Washington State Department of Health ACEs Consultant
A second session will be geared toward the general public. Happening later that evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., it includes a screening of Wounded Places shown with Spanish subtitles and a short discussion. The events will have a variety of information and resources available, as well as free children’s books to the first 240 attendees at the evening showing.
“To make a real impact on preventing ACEs and healing the wounds, it takes all of us working together,” said Goldbaum. “Whatever your passion is, be it advocating for trauma-informed health care, working to end homelessness or the cycle of poverty, or volunteering in schools and non-profits to be a positive role models for kids, your passion can be put to good use in our community. The first step is for all of us to be aware, and to care.”
Visit http://www.snohd.org/aces to learn more about ACEs, as well as information about the upcoming screenings and panel discussion. The District also published a report in 2011, The Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Snohomish County.
The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit www.snohd.org.