A new Resiliency task force is working to strengthen the mental health of Brunswick County’s citizens.
We all want to live in a safe, healthy community where we can enjoy life and feel supported and connected to one another. In recent years, hurricanes, tornados, the pandemic and other events have affected our community and challenged our sense of peace and well-being.
A group of local nonprofit and business leaders in Brunswick County has been working as part of a national movement to look at building our individual and collective resiliency so that we can each have the tools needed to deal with these types of traumatic community events as well as the more personal events in our lives that can negatively impact our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Resilient Brunswick started in 2019 and includes members from county government, health care, social service agencies and concerned community members who meet monthly to learn more about Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs) and how they shape us all.
An enlightening study conducted by Dr. Nadine Burke and Kaiser Permanente concluded there are some core life experiences that can place us at significant risk of emotional and physical health issues if we do not receive the support needed or develop the skills required to address the potential long-term negative impact of these events.
Such events include divorce, domestic violence, abuse, an incarcerated parent and other events many of us experience as children. Additionally, events we collectively experience as adults, such as natural disasters, can have a similar impact. Surprisingly, this study revealed that the risk for the negative health effects of these experiences is the same for people of all genders, race and ethnic groups, ages and socio-economic statuses. It is not a poor man’s issue. It is a societal issue. It is a community issue. It is our issue.
The good news is we all have innate resiliency skills we were born with that we can tap into to help us overcome the potential negative effects of these experiences. As a community, we can also provide support to others to help them as well. While we all experience negative events in our lives, we don’t have to suffer long term consequences that can result. Likewise, when our community experiences a traumatic event like loss from a natural disaster, we can come together to support one another and reduce those negative effects on our bodies and minds.
Dr. Burke’s research resulted in the creation of an ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) questionnaire that uses 10 key questions focused on abuse, neglect and household dysfunction, to determine how many significant negative childhood experiences you have had that may be affecting your long-term well-being.
It has been shown that those with just 4 ACEs are at 12 times the risk for suicide; two times the risk for developing cancer or heart disease and four times the risk for developing chronic lung disease as a result of the toxic stress experienced.
The good news is that by building resiliency skills you can help overcome these risk factors and reduce your chances of suffering from these emotional and physical issues. By educating the public, and those who provide care for community members such as physicians, clergy, social workers, teachers and others, together we can reduce the impact of ACEs. This is not an issue just for a group of professionals. It is an issue that affects us all and requires everyone’s participation to make a change in how we individually and as a community respond to stress and support healthy outcomes.
Resilient Brunswick will be working with the community on an ongoing basis to help individuals develop personal resiliency skills and provide opportunities for people to help one another so we can reduce the incidences of suicide, substance abuse, domestic violence and other public health concerns to make Brunswick County a healthier place for everyone.
Want to learn more?
Resiliency Film Screening
Monday, February 7
Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College
This is a free opportunity for community members to watch the Resiliency film together and hear more about ACEs and local resiliency efforts from a panel of area mental health professionals who are dedicated to this work. The film will share the research conducted by Dr. Nadine Burke and others and the resulting ACEs questionnaire. It will also provide an opportunity for you to hear how you can assess your own personal risk factors and, more importantly, how you can develop and use your own resiliency skills to overcome any negative affects you may experience as a result of your ACEs. There will also be an opportunity for those who wish to further explore resiliency to join Resilient Brunswick in its efforts to create a more resilient, supportive community here in Brunswick County.