Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are neglectful, abusive, or harmful situations caused by one’s family or the environment during childhood. Learn more about what the Office of Behavioral Health Wellness has been doing below.

Many of these experiences before the age of 18 can indicate increased risk of poor health and fewer opportunities. Since 2017, the Office of Behavioral Health Wellness has been educating communities about the implications of early childhood adversity and long-term health through the ACE Interface initiative. ACE Interface trainings prepares trainers and presenters to talk to communities about neuroscience, epigenetics, the ACE Study and, resilience – and, how all these topics can help us better understand the importance of early childhood development in the overall health and wellness of our communities.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study was conducted in 1995-1997 by Kaiser to link between childhood abuse and later-life health. ACEs are categorized into three groups: abuse, neglect, and household challenges and divided into multiple subcategories. ACEs impact on health ranges from increased prevalence of injury, mental illness, chronic diseases, etc. The Kaiser study found that an individual who had four or more out of the ten identified adverse experiences before the age of 18 had significantly increased the probability of these health impacts. The ten-question survey is still widely used today in medical and therapy settings to identify individuals’ health risk factors.

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