By Khanh Tong, Salt Lake County Youth Services Outreach Case Manager
Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) is a traumatic event that happens to an individual before 18 years of age. Research shows that the more traumatic events (ACE) a person experienced, they are more likely to have issues such as:
- Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Fetal death
- Health-related quality of life
- Illicit drug use
- Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
- Risk for intimate partner violence
- Liver disease
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Suicide attempts
- Unintended pregnancies
- Early initiation of smoking
- Early initiation of sexual activity
- Adolescent pregnancy
Traumatic events are: continuous insults from adult, physical abuse from adults, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, parents divorce, witnessed domestic violence, family member with drugs/alcohol problems, family member has mental illness, family member in prison. We hope that the information is helpful for parents and mental health professionals if they have not heard about the ACE study.
At Salt Lake County Youth Services, we often see youth who experienced more than 3 of these ACEs. We have therapist that are trained to specifically help with this population. We also have prevention classes to help each youth deal with their issues and combat these traumatic experiences. In our Strengthening Families class we teach parents ways to deal and limit traumatic events by; having family dinners, talking to their teens, parents spending one-on-one time with their teens, holding family meeting each week. By practicing these, a lot of parents have reported that they have a healthier relationship with their teens and they are happier as a family.
To learn more about Salt Lake County Youth Services and how we can help with counseling, therapy or prevention classes, please check our website (slco.org/youth). To learn more about the ACE study, check the CDC website.