Jamestown, NY: School supt: Adverse childhood experiences are 'a national crisis'

Feb 20, 2018, Jamestown (NY) Post—Journal: Adverse Experiences Affecting Students Adverse Childhood Experiences are affecting Jamestown students in high numbers. “We have a national crisis when it comes to the mental health of our teens and our children,” said Bret Apthorpe, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools. “It’s a national crisis. The number of kids experiencing trauma, we can’t even imagine, is staggering.” In a news release from the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, an ACE or ACEs are described as stressful or traumatic experiences in childhood that include neglect, physical or verbal abuse and a range of environmental or relational factors. Specific examples provided included being raised in a home that included substance misuse, mental illness, parental discord or crime, witnessing domestic violence or the absence of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Apthorpe said schools are not equipped to deal with students who are subjected to one of these experiences. … “Schools aren’t equipped to provide students with the clinical help they need,” Apthorpe said. “We do the best we can, but this degree of trauma for kids they need counseling, they need therapy.” … On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, under violence prevention, there is a pyramid chart that links ACEs to several conditions later in life. At the bottom of the pyramid are ACEs. According to the chart, ACE can lead disrupted neurodevelopment and social, emotional, and cognitive impairment. These factors can then lead to the adoption of health risk behaviors, which then could lead to disease, disability and social problems. At the top of the chart is early death. … “It’s clear that our kids are not doing well,”Apthorpe told The Post-Journal. “The board of education, myself and everyone in the district is committed to turning this around.” Apthorpe said a meeting with community leaders is scheduled for March 15 at the Robert H. Jackson Center where ACE will be discussed, among other issues.