West Tennessee leaders have critical conversations about adverse childhood experiences

JACKSON, Tenn– Adverse childhood experiences are defined as stressful or traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect and family dysfunction that disrupt the safe, stable nurturing environments that children need to thrive.

“Unfortunately our children do not outgrow the effects of ACE’s. It may go undercover, but it’s going to emerge in some stage in life,” Former Mayor of Shelby County and City of Memphis A C Wharton said. He was one of the speakers at Tuesday’s conference, Critical Conversations: Building Community Resilience, a West Tennessee Summit.

The effects of ACEs on people impact the economy.

“Mental health issues or maybe substance abuse issues or maybe when just left untreated that those issues do not help them reach their potential as productive citizens,” Dana Cobb, Regional Program Administrator and Northwest Coordinator for Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, said. 

People in this meeting are learning not to ask the question, “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?” so hopefully so they can make a difference going forward in that person’s life.

“How do we wrap our services, how do we come together as a community, to wrap services around individuals?” Cobb asked.

And she says certain programs help solve this problem.

“Early childhood programs like Healthy Start and Healthier Beginning and pre-k programs,” she said.

For more information on ACEs, click here.

For more information on the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, click here.


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