During the World Health Day on 7th April, I joined Mentee Global Organization to host a webinar on adverse childhood experience. Mentee is global knowledge sharing and support community. MENTEE offers a lifelong supportive program so that every marginalized person in the world can have the power to shape their own future.
In partnership with my organization (Stowelink), I worked Amarjit Dass and Stephen Ogweno (CEO Stowelink) to host this informative session. The webinar aimed at increasing participants understanding of ACEs and how the phenomenon has adverse impact on health. During this webinar, we were able to;
- Define Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
- Elucidate the types of ACEs experiences.
- Explain why ACEs are a public health concern.
- Link ACEs to Non-communicable diseases.
- Explore the role of communities in addressing ACES.
ACEs can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, as well as life opportunities such as education and job potential. These experiences can increase the risks of injury, sexually transmitted infections, maternal and child health problems (including teen pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and fetal death), involvement in sex trafficking, and a wide range of chronic diseases and leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide.
ACEs and associated social determinants of health, such as living in under-resourced or racially segregated neighborhoods, frequently moving, and experiencing food insecurity, can cause toxic stress (extended or prolonged stress). Toxic stress from ACEs can negatively affect children’s brain development, immune systems, and stress-response systems. These changes can affect children’s attention, decision-making, and learning.
Children growing up with toxic stress may have difficulty forming healthy and stable relationships. They may also have unstable work histories as adults and struggle with finances, jobs, and depression throughout life. These effects can also be passed on to their own children. Some children may face further exposure to toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas due to systemic racism or the impacts of poverty resulting from limited educational and economic opportunities.