Module III - Key Concepts:
Disparities faced by communities and collective populations are at the root of widespread adversity, inequities, and trauma. It is important to note that trauma and poverty are tied to one another and that the effects of trauma contribute to generational cycles of poverty. Children who are in families that are struggling in the crisis of poverty are at high risk for more that one ACE before the age of 8. These kids live in households experiencing high levels of toxic stress.
When a child experiences too much toxic stress, their brain and body will produce an overload of stress hormones — such as cortisol and adrenaline — that harm the function and structure of the brain. This can be particularly devastating in children, whose brains are developing at an accelerated pace from before they are born to age three.
Toxic stress is the kind of stress that can come in response to living for months or years with a screaming alcoholic father, a severely depressed and neglectful mother or an environment in which everyone is in crisis due to lack of resources (generational poverty).