Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance abuse disorders.
ACEs are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan. The negative effects of ACEs are felt throughout the nation and can affect people of all backgrounds. We are doing local, regional and state-wide work around this issue. For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Health: What is an ACE webpage.
Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. Many studies have examined the relationship between ACEs and a variety of risk factors for disease, disability, and early mortality; this research has shown that people who experience adversity early in life are more likely to experience poor outcomes in learning, relationships, and physical and mental health (including addiction).
However, some people who experience early adversity are able to produce positive outcomes from these negative circumstances-these people are said to be ‘resilient’, possessing the skills and abilities that allow them to adapt and stay healthy even in circumstances of severe stress or hardship.
To promote a good standard of health and to help prevent mental health and addiction problems in our communities, we must work to both prevent ACEs and to engage in early identification of people who have experienced them. Additionally, we need to support all individuals in building the foundations of resilience. We are doing local, regional and state-wide work around this issue.