The term trauma can refer to a wide range of traumatic, abusive or neglectful events or series of events (including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma in adulthood) that are experienced as being emotionally or physically harmful or life threatening. Whether an event(s) is traumatic depends not only on our individual experience of the event, but also how it negatively impacts one’s emotional, social, spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. Trauma will often have lasting adverse effects. We are all affected by traumatic events in different ways. Experiences that may be traumatic include:

  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Living with a family member with mental health or substance use disorders
  • Sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one
  • Poverty, lack of opportunity and mobility
  • Racism, discrimination, and oppression
  • Violence in the community, war, or terrorism
  • Accidents, natural disasters
  • Incarceration

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What is Trauma and Trauma-informed Care?