Broken-hearted children are more likely to suffer from mental and physical illnesses as adults.

In a study looking at the impacts of toxic stress and trauma, scientists found that many common experiences early on can lead to debilitating illnesses later in life.

This information was shared with South County residents at The San Diego Foundation event, Growing Resilience in our Community, on February 21 at Chula Vista High School.

Attendees at Resilience event in Chula Vista

“Resilience” screening attendees heard from community leaders and spoke with local organizations working to prevent childhood trauma. Click the photo to see the entire album.

Leaders from all sectors came together to screen Jamie Redford’s Sundance-debuted film, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, which chronicles the promising beginnings of a national movement to prevent childhood trauma, treat toxic stress and improve the health of current and future generations.

Hosted in collaboration with the County of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, Sweetwater Union High School District and many other partners, the event provided attendees with the opportunity to hear from community leaders and speak with local organizations currently working to address the challenges outlined in the study.

Identifying the Problem

[pullquote]This is the biggest public health discovery we’ve ever seen.”
– Laura Porter, Co-Founder, ACE Interface

ACEs are defined as Adverse Childhood Events, such as the loss of a parent through death, divorce or incarceration or other traumatic experiences such as living with an alcoholic parent or being sexually abused.

Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and homelessness, these experiences early on can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

As the film outlines, the U.S. spends trillions of dollars every year treating preventable diseases, rather than stepping in before a patient is sick and suffering to treat the root cause. With this study, experts have a stronger understanding of the challenge and are learning better ways of the health of those traumatized.
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Generating Awareness

The San Diego nonprofit and healthcare community are already making great strides when it comes to toxic stress and trauma among our youth.

In an effort to generate more awareness and support local efforts, The San Diego Foundation and its partners will be hosting additional screenings across the County in 2017.

Parents, teachers, students and other community members are encouraged to attend to learn more about the emerging science of toxic stress and what services are available to help vulnerable young people become thriving adults.

For more information about the next event, visit and subscribe to our newsletter.

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How is your organization working to prevent childhood stress and trauma for San Diego’s next generation? Share your experience with us in the comments!