We Need to Recognize Toxic Stress as a Health Condition with Clinical Implications


Toxic stress is a health condition with clinical implications

There is a common health condition with serious medical consequences that has not been nationally recognized by the medical or public health community—toxic stress response. Toxic stress is the body’s response to prolonged trauma─like abuse or discrimination─with no support. It can harm lifelong mental, physical, and behavioral health, especially for Latinos and others of color. But few, if any, clinical treatment guidelines have strategies for mitigating the toxic stress response. That’s why Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health wants California and others to recognize and respond to toxic stress as a health condition with clinical implications. “We ...

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Toxic Stress and its Lifelong Health Consequences


Toxic stress is a health crisis

Toxic stress is brought about by repeated stressful and traumatic experiences with no supportive relationships. This is causing huge mental and physical health problems for people across the nation, including Latinos and other people of color. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris even calls toxic stress a public health crisis. This is why she authored the Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health. “We now understand that a key mechanism by which ACEs [adverse childhood experiences, such as divorce, abuse, poverty, etc.] lead to increased health risks is through a health condition called the toxic stress response,” Burke Harris’ roadmap states. Salud America! is exploring this issue as part of its ...

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11 Crucial Insights from the First Roadmap to Address Toxic Stress


Crucial Insights from the First Roadmap to Address Toxic Stress

Stress can happen for many reasons. Abuse. Discrimination. Poverty. But when the human body’s response to stressful situations is activated too frequently or intensely without supportive relationships, stress becomes more than “just stress.” It becomes “toxic stress.” And toxic stress can harm your brain, body, and behavior, and increase lifelong risk for disease, especially for Latinos and other people of color. Fortunately, we can address and even prevent toxic stress. The new Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health is the nation’s first guide to address toxic stress by cutting a main cause─adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)─in half in a generation. We at Salud ...

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4 Recommendations to Help At-Risk Kids, Families amid School Closures, Isolation


reaching at-risk kids and families while school is out isolation coronavirus 2-1-1

As educators quickly adapted to virtual platforms to stay in academic contact with students after schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many at-risk students were stranded in potentially unsafe, traumatic home situations. How could schools, while closed, still check on child welfare and connect families to resources? To answer this question, child advocates started brainstorming. West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma advocates launched a bi-weekly Brainstorming Group March 25, 2020, to share best practices, recommendations, and resources to help these kids. Soon, advocates joined from Ohio, Maryland, Florida, and Texas (including Salud America!). The group generated four main recommendations: 1. Continue Sending ‘Handle With Care’ Notifications Did you ...

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Start ‘Handle With Care’ to Help Kids Who Face Trauma, Even If Schools Are Closed!


Action Pack Start ‘Handle With Care’ to Support Traumatized Kids, Even When Schools Are Closed 4

Some kids witness domestic violence or murder. Some see loved ones hurt in accidents. These kids still have to go to class or carry on while school is out for summer or due to a pandemic. They face a burden of stress and trauma that can interfere with their behavior and grades—and schools often aren’t even aware there’s an issue. Fortunately, you can still help these kids. Download the free Salud America! “Handle With Care Action Pack.” The Action Pack helps police, school, and mental healthcare leaders start the Handle with Care program, in which police notify schools when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so schools can provide support right away. They can virtually support kids if school is out for summer or closed due to a pandemic like the ...

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4 Big Questions on the Rise of Child Abuse During Coronavirus


child abuse during school closures

During this global coronavirus pandemic that has shut down businesses and schools and ushered in social distancing, experts worry more children are suffering from abuse. Researchers say this happens in times of stress. Child abuse rose in the Great Recession. “I believe we’re going to see the number of child abuse cases increase rapidly but child abuse reports are going to decrease exponentially,” Megan Hedges, family advocate for the Child Advocacy Center of Fredrick County, told the Frederick News-Post. “This is going to be detrimental to many of the children in our community because we know the abuse is not stopping, in fact the abuse may be getting worse.” 1. Why Could Child Abuse Rise? Financial distress, unemployment, domestic violence, and social isolation are big ...

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Addressing the Spike in Domestic Violence amid Coronavius for Latinas and All Women


Addressing the Spike in Domestic Violence amid Coronavius for Latinas

Many U.S. homes are not the safe havens we may think. In fact, with families locked down to slow COVID-19, police say domestic violence cases have risen up to 35% in recent days, NBC reports. Local and state leaders need to address the immediate needs of these victims. They also need to think about long-term solutions to reduce disparities in income and wealth accumulation, which COVID-19 is exacerbating, particularly among Latinas. “Women — and it is predominantly women who are victimized — are confined to isolated homes with abusive partners whose coercive and physically violent tendencies are enabled and further inflamed by economic stressors [due to coronavirus],” according to Natasha Lennard with The Intercept. If you or someone you know needs help, call the ...

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How Schools Continue “Handle With Care” for Kids Amid Closures, Coronavirus


Handle With Care Salud Heroes

Over the past few years, dozens of U.S. schools launched the Handle With Care program to better support students facing childhood trauma like poverty and domestic violence. For the program, police alert school leaders when they encounter a child at a traumatic scene, so schools are prepared to keep an eye on the student and provide support or services. But now schools are closed due to coronavirus. So how are these schools adapting the Handle With Care program and maintaining meaningful connections with students in the face of school closures? We asked three people who got the Handle With Care program started in San Antonio. How Did Handle With Care Begin in San Antonio? Read or watch how Diana Centeno of San Antonio ISD (SAISD), John Hernandez of East Central ISD (ECISD), ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 3/10: Routine Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)



Our bodies are wired for survival—thanks to our biological stress response system. However, without buffering protections, adversity in childhood can lead to a toxic stress response—changes in brain structure and function, how genes are read, functioning of the immune and inflammatory systems, and growth and development. This toxic stress response is associated with increased risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, suicide, and numerous other negative health and social outcomes. By screening children and families, providers can assess their risk of toxic stress and provide appropriate education, treatment, and services. After all, screening is one of the most basic tools of modern public health and preventive ...

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