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PTSD & Trauma

Defining Trauma

Trauma is a pervasive problem. It results from exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.

Defining Trauma

Experiences that may be traumatic include:

  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse

  • Childhood neglect

  • Living with a family member with mental health or substance use disorders

  • Sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one

  • Poverty

  • Racism, discrimination, and oppression

  • Violence in the community, war, or terrorism

Although trauma can occur at any age, it has particularly debilitating long-term effects on children’s developing brains. Often referred to as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), exposure to these experiences is common across all sectors of society: