By Roxie Rahn, Plymouth County City Life Director
It’s no surprise that young people are experiencing stress and trauma like never before. So what’s the answer to help them deal with the stress and trauma? Is it counseling? Medication? While those things can be helpful in some situations, that is not the ONE solution that we’ve found at YFC to be successful.
Trauma is a buzzword much talked about in our society today, and for good reason. Trauma or Toxic Stress can become hard-wired into a young person’s brain. Toxic Stress can be anything from abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect (physical or emotional), loss of a close relative, homelessness, divorce of parents, or violence in the home.
For a child living with Toxic Stress for long periods of time, the brain rewires for survival and is almost always in fight or flight mode. Toxic Stress in early childhood manifests in behaviors of edginess, emotional detachment, short-fused or explosive tempers, impulsiveness, and hypervigilance.
When these youth enter the school setting, they are required to sit still and focus for long periods of time. Here lies their challenge, because their brains don’t allow them to rest. They quite literally are not capable of resting, resulting in behavioral issues and truancy.
While much is being done to intercept and diagnose trauma at earlier ages in the health field, many young people often get misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) Another common diagnosis is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). These diagnoses place students on medication to help with these behaviors. While the medication may cool the temper and the energy may lessen, this does not address the root of the trauma.
One study has been done across the country with tens of thousands of youth over the last 20 years. One intervention has consistently proven to help youth deal with trauma and regain health (physically, emotionally and mentally). What is this intervention? Having ONE consistent, trustworthy adult to walk with them through life. Just ONE! This could be a teacher, youth pastor, mentor/advocate, or relative.
YFC has many ONES who have decided to invest their time and love into young people experiencing trauma. We are so thankful for each ONE who prays for our youth, opening God’s healing power. For each ONE who gives of your resources to keep this ministry operating. And for each ONE who gives time and love to young people in our community who need someone to walk with them on the path to healing.
We are humbled and thankful for each ONE of you. ONE person with one young person at a time, we can impact our entire community with the hope of Jesus. If you’re interested in becoming the ONE and giving of your resources, time, or prayer please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Footnote of study: ACE Study in 1994 by the Department of Preventive Medicine in San Diego, funded by the CDC in partnership with Kaiser Health Insurance