ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood. They can include experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, growing up in a household with substance abuse or mental health issues, or having a family member attempt or complete suicide. ACEs are linked to many chronic health problems and mental illnesses, as well as to negative impacts on education or job opportunities.
The CDC report that about 61% of adults have had at least one type of ACE and almost 17% have had four or more types of ACEs.
This Ted Talk does a great job explaining the significant impacts of ACEs:
The CDC lists several things that we can do to prevent ACEs:
•Strengthen economic supports to families (e.g., family friend work policies, strengthening household financial security)
•Promote social norms that protect against violence and adversity (e.g., public education campaigns)
•Ensure a strong start for children (e.g., early childhood home visitation, high quality childcare, preschool enrichment with family engagement)
•Teach skills (e.g., social-emotional learning, safe dating and health relationships skill programs, parenting skills and family relationship approaches)
•Connect youth to caring adults and activities (e.g., mentoring program, after school programs)
•Intervene to lessen immediate and long-term harms (e.g., enhanced primary care, victim-centered services, treatment to lessen the harms of ACEs, treatment to prevent problem behavior and future involvement in violence, family-centered treatment for substance use disorders)
**Interested in reading the original study? https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html