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It is widely believed that people who have had traumatic experiences, especially when they are young, are more likely to experience mental health issues later in life.

Since the 1990s, studies have identified the specific reasons and diagnosis of trauma-related problems and the importance of understanding a person’s story when dealing with various health problems, commonly referred to as “informed trauma.” “.

Now South Ayrshire Councilors are looking to take action to tackle the problem by taking this approach when providing services and support to residents.

Grouped together under the term Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), experts have been able to identify at what stage abuse, addiction and violence begin to change a person’s brain development.

SNP adviser Julie Dettbarn, backed by Labor adviser Brian McGinley, formally calls on the South Ayrshire Council to develop a targeted plan to deal with ACEs.

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Cllr Dettbarn, chair of the South Ayrshire Integration Joint Board and champion of trauma for authority, said: “We know that children who have four or more ACEs, because of the way the brain adapts to cope. under extreme stress, are much more likely than others to suffer from poor outcomes and inequalities in adulthood.

“These can include education and employment issues, unhealthy behaviors leading to substance abuse or poor mental and physical health, abusive relationships, homelessness or imprisonment – which resonate with through the generations, repeating the cycle.

“Early intervention and support for vulnerable families is key to breaking this cycle, but we need all services, and those provided by our partners, to be trauma-informed and responsive, to avoid further harm to those. who suffer from psychological trauma and to support recovery. “

Domestic violence, parental abandonment, having a parent with a mental health problem, abuse, neglect, and growing up in a home with alcohol and drug problems are some of the things that happen. experiences that fall under ACE.

While this early intervention is a common feature of many mental health issues, Cllr Dettbarn explained that even working with traumatized people can impact staff well-being.

Unsurprisingly, it was the unprecedented scale of stress resulting from the pandemic that really exposed this aspect.

“We also know that those who work with traumatized people can themselves be affected,” continued Cllr Dettbarn.

“This has been evident over the past 18 months, when every member of our staff has gone above and beyond to respond to what has been a time of national trauma.

“It’s important that we have the right systems and the right training in place to support our workforce that does so much for others.

“In my role as a member of the Scottish Trauma Champions Network, it is understood that this approach will be essential to the national recovery effort.”

In a motion to appear before a special meeting of the South Ayrshire Council, Cllr Dettbarn says: “There is growing evidence that traumatic life experiences can negatively impact people’s social, economic and health outcomes. .

“This can include experiences that occur in childhood as well as those that occur in adulthood. These types of experiences have been found to lead to an increased risk of poor health and social outcomes, as well as difficulties in accessing or maintaining access to services.

“This can mean that those who need help the most will often be the ones who face the greatest barriers to accessing it. “

The motion seeks to “help people overcome the effects of trauma and improve both access to services and long-term outcomes.”

“This is particularly important in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. National and international evidence has shown that the poorest and most marginalized people in society have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and projections suggest that these communities will be hardest hit economically and long-term social.

“Many inequalities in our society have been highlighted, while the role of local authorities and our partners in meeting the needs of the poorest people and communities has never been clearer. “

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