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Educating Utahns About Impacts Of Childhood Trauma

Shanie Howard
Northern Utah educators discuss how they can positivly impact the lives of children who have gone through tramatic events.

A Northern Utah nonprofit is using a training program to help educate the public about the impacts of childhood trauma.

A 2011 study done by the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health found that 42.1 percent of children under the age of 17 in Utah have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. The study classifies a traumatic event to include a parents divorce or physical abuse. Regardless of the specifics, Dr. Ed Redd says there are certain signs most people show after they have experienced a traumatic event.

“If a child is in a very dangerous environment and they are constantly exposed to danger and stress then their brains are going to be wired to survive in that kind of environment,” Redd said. “Lots of times that means certain parts of their brain are going to more reinforced than others and so they might start having problems with chronic sadness or anxiety.”

Esterlee Molyneux, the director of The Family Place, says the best thing a person can do to help a child or adult who has gone through trauma is to simply be supportive.

“There are a lot of people who have experience a traumatic event now that need support for healing and recovery after that event and a lot of that is just having people around to support them and try to make sense of our world,” Molyneux said.

Representatives from The Family Place, local educators, licensed therapist and USU students studying psychology and social work will meet again in February for more trauma resiliency training.