In this TED talk Dr Nadine Burke Harris explores the effects of childhood adversity on health and wellbeing across a lifetime.
- “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat addressing our nation today”. Robert Block (Former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Wrestling with ambivalence: “we’d rather be sick”
More intriguing to me is that Harris sees that the medical system is largely ignoring the evidence. She suggests that we “marginalize the issue because it does apply to us… we’d rather be sick.” Strong words indeed.
I see this ambivalence regularly in my counselling practice… for some I help them explore their ambivalence, others for whatever reason are keen to start to explore, heal and transform. I feel fortunate to be besides all of them on their journey.
Dr Harris suggests we most need “courage to look this problem in the face… this is real, this is all of us”. Yes, let’s get honest about it with ourselves, let’s learn what the effects are on the brain, and what can work to heal it. I have some ideas.
More broadly the evidence she cites points to the need to support parents of young children in a more comprehensive way. Those in poverty, single parents or those struggling with addiction or mental illness. But not forgetting those who might be struggling in the shadows or fall between the gaps.
Many agencies and services focus on supporting families, but there’s still an enormous need from what I see. I want to use my particular skills and interests towards supporting parents. I’m currently exploring how I can be most useful; initially I will launch my Mama Me groups in the Spring in Hamilton, Ontario.