ACEs Awareness Day – Why It Matters Every Day

ACEs Awareness Day - Why It Matters Every Day

“Childhood trauma can lead to an adulthood spent in survival mode, afraid to plant roots, to plan for the future, to trust, and to let joy in. It’s a blessing to shift from surviving to thriving. It’s not simple, but there is more than survival.” – Unknown 

“Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.” –  bell hooks 

As New York continues its journey towards becoming a trauma-informed state the need for education about the impact of trauma, prevention, and healing has never been greater.   

Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs are potentially traumatic events in childhood (i.e. parental divorce or incarceration, violence, food insecurity, etc.,) that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being throughout life. The higher the number of ACEs experienced, the greater the risk of having negative health risk behaviors and outcomes, such as obesity, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), suicide, substance use disorder, and depression. ACEs are costly and preventable.   

The good news is that resilience in the face of adversity is possible and available to anyone.  Factors that research has shown to be effective in disrupting negative outcomes associated with toxic stress and ACEs include supportive and nurturing adult-child relationships, a sense of self-efficacy, opportunities to strengthen adaptive skills, and environments that foster connection to one’s culture and values. 

Enacted in 2019, Adverse Childhood Experiences Awareness Day (April 30th) in the State of New York helps to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Protective Factors, Adverse Community Experiences, Resilience, and Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs).  This day is an opportunity to share resources, tools, and strategies to address ACEs and promote healing-centered practices.   

As we prepare to recognize ACEs Awareness Day this year, we encourage to you think about everyday actions you can take (big and small) to increase awareness about ACEs, Protective Factors, Adverse Community Experiences, Resilience, and Positive Childhood Experiences in your communities.  

What can I do to prevent and mitigate the impact of ACEs? 

Educate your community (faith-based, PTA’s, Community Centers, etc.,) about ACEs, PCEs, and strategies for promoting resilience.  The NYS Trauma-Informed Network has resources that can be downloaded and shared, by accessing this link: https://resources.traumainformedny.org/.  There are also additional resources that can be used to raise awareness, such as ACEs Aware and PACEs Connection.

Take Action/Get involved many of the factors that contribute to ACEs are a consequence of structural issues, such as poverty and racism. Supporting legislation, policy(es), and programs that attempt to address the root causes that contribute to ACEs and promote community resilience is critical. The Campaign for Trauma informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) is a good source for advocacy ideas and resources.    

Stay tuned for more information about ACEs Awareness Day 2023, including resources and a calendar of ACEs awareness events for the month of April.