Dr. Patricia Farrell on Medika Life

Traumatized Kids Are Imperiled Adults in Mental Health Needs

Early childhood is a time of learning, but some of the learning may have negative consequences later in life in terms of mental health.

It is critical to recognize the tremendous effects that childhood trauma can have on a person’s mental health and well-being in today’s fast-paced and demanding society. Traumatized youngsters frequently retain the effects of their experiences into adulthood, dealing with a variety of difficulties that can seriously lower their quality of life overall.

Now we face the real trauma of school shootings and children doing drills to prepare for a shooting or worse. The contagion effect of hearing about shootings in school can be as traumatizing as if the child experienced it themselves. For this reason, vigilance regarding the potential need for therapy is necessary. There is also research connecting early childhood trauma with Parkinson’s Disease.

recent article provides some sense of what a drill is like for a teacher:

I was working in my preschool health office when the loudspeaker came on, but this time, it was not the voice of the school principal, it was the sound of gunshots. I had no students in my office, so I locked the door, covered the glass, closed the blinds, and hid in the corner. I had no idea if this was an unannounced lockdown drill or an active shooter in our building. In the end, it was a drill, an unannounced one. The person running the drill used an app on her phone that sounded like gunshots, which she played over the loudspeaker.

Imagine how the children would have felt if they had seen their teacher “hid in the corner.” But her classroom was empty. Did she suffer any trauma? I would suspect that it was a more-than-upsetting experience and that even if it has become commonplace, the fear is created and it takes its toll.

Are these drills effective in any way? There is no federal standard for how to run these drills, nor is there any evidence that they are effective when an attack does result. This is pretty concerning.

Another article noted survey data where “Results show that experiencing an active shooter drill in high school was associated with significant increases in student fear, inflated perceptions of risk, and a decrease in perceptions of school safety.

The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma

Adverse events that can be included in childhood trauma include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, problems in the home, and witnessing violence. These events can have a lasting effect on a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development by molding their developing brain. Trauma alters the normal progression of healthy development and can cause a variety of mental health issues as an adult.

People who have gone through childhood trauma are frequently at an increased risk of developing mental health conditions like despair, anxiety, PTSD, substance misuse, and even personality disorders. Individuals may display symptoms of hyperarousal, emotional dysregulation, detachment, and trouble establishing and maintaining relationships because of trauma.

Using a trauma-informed strategy is crucial for meeting the mental health needs of traumatized people. Providing safe and supportive environments, comprehending the effects of trauma on individuals, and empowering them in their recovery are all key components of trauma-informed care. Professionals can offer holistic care that promotes healing and resilience by understanding the connections between trauma, mental health, and general well-being.

Although the effects of childhood trauma can be severe, it’s vital to keep in mind that resilience and rehabilitation are possible. Individuals can set out on a road of healing and reclaiming their lives through a combination of evidence-based therapies, support networks, and self-care techniques. Those who struggle with trauma-related issues may benefit from therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and mindfulness practices.

The Function of Social Support

The strength of their support network significantly influences an individual’s ability to recover from trauma. Social support, whether it comes from family, friends, or professional networks, is crucial for assisting people in navigating the difficult emotions and difficulties brought on by trauma. The support network transforms into an important tool for people on their way to healing by encouraging a sense of belonging, empathy, and understanding.

A joint effort is needed to remove the stigma and hurdles associated with mental health in order to address the needs of traumatized people in terms of their mental health. We can build a society that emphasizes the welfare of all of its members by encouraging open discussions, increasing understanding, and fighting for readily available, high-quality mental health care. Everyone should have the chance to get better, develop, and prosper.

In a truly people-sensitive society, there should be the opportunity for citizens to work toward improving themselves, growing in a positive direction, and flourishing as a result.

If we are to effectively meet the mental health needs of traumatized individuals, we must engage in comprehensive and integrated trauma-informed treatment practices. This includes, among other things, expanding access to mental health services, educating professionals on trauma-specific interventions, and promoting research and development in the field. By amplifying the voices of survivors, challenging cultural norms, and fostering an atmosphere of understanding and compassion, we can foster the circumstances for a better future.

Mental health is significantly and widely impacted by childhood trauma. The staggering number of shootings that have taken place in recent years is planting the seeds of future mental health issues. It is critical to comprehend a traumatized person’s needs and provide them with the support and resources they require if they are to recover and maintain good health.

By adopting a trauma-informed strategyencouraging resilience, and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health, we can create a society that nurtures and uplifts those who have experienced trauma. Let’s work together to create a world where mental health care is available, kind, and empowering.

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Pat Farrell PhD
Pat Farrell PhDhttps://medium.com/@drpatfarrell
I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.


Medika Editor: Mental Health

I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.

Patricia also acts in an editorial capacity for Medika's mental health articles, providing invaluable input on a wide range of mental health issues.

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