Yesterday was World Mental Health day. We listened to Arm Chair Expert's podcast with Nadine Burke Harris. She is the 1st and current surgeon general of California, known for her work in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and childhood trauma. The statistics about the impact of childhood trauma on brain development and early death is horrifying. One factor of childhood trauma is the loss of a parent, the economic hardship of family (which comes along with cancer treatment & hospitalizations), and a mental illness diagnosis of a parent in childhood (1 in 4 people with cancer are diagnosed with depression - Source: The American Cancer Society).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "trauma is this kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and
other organ systems and increase the risk of stressrelated disease and cognitive impairment well into the adult years." There is a terrifying pyramid of the effects of childhood trauma I have enclosed that lead to early morbidity, disease (heart, lung, cancer), suicide, mental illness, and addiction.
WHAT DO WE DO IN THE COMMUNITY, OUR FAMILIES, OUR FRIEND CIRCLES AND OUR NATION TO COMBAT THIS?
Parent-child interactive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, promote positive parenting experiences, public engagement and campaigns, family-friendly policies, and creating SAFE STABLE spaces for parents and their children.
Alex's Sunnyside Playroom is working to incorporate the family and children into their parent's fight with cancer. Statistics prove that family involvement in cancer treatment diminishes the incidence of depression. Not only would a place that creates happy memories be a welcome addition to the patient, but also the children. It can help reduce the trauma of separation from a parent while they are literally fighting for their life. This is a health crisis of epic proportions, childhood trauma. Cancer and death from cancer directly lays a foundation for childhood trauma. Here is more information about this study and the childhood quiz:
Please check out Dr. Harris's video here: