More than ever before, mental health researchers and professionals are finding that untreated trauma is at the core of a significant number of chronic health issues.
Mental health issues have become a widespread problem as evidenced by the rising numbers of stories of suicides and other tragic events that appear daily in our news feeds. However, far too many illnesses are being incorrectly attributed to various conditions when, in fact, they were caused by untreated trauma. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), almost half of the nation’s children have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma. Even more alarming, nearly one in three U.S. youth between the ages of 12-17 years old has experienced two or more types of childhood adversity that are likely to affect their physical and mental health as adults.
Chester Street Foundation was established in 2017 to shine a light on the invisible wounds of childhood trauma so that children receive the treatment they deserve. Our strategy to fulfill our mission is to educate our community on the science behind the emotional reactions to trauma and the ways to help traumatized children heal and recover. It’s not just about hurt feelings and troubling emotions; it’s much deeper and is rooted physiologically. Trauma remains wired in the body and brain. Whenever it triggers its victims, it causes them to relive the panic and terror of their original trauma over and over. These wounds are not visible to the human eye, but they are very real and left untreated can cause chronic health issues which last a lifetime.
We believe education is a critical component to helping traumatized children on their road to recovery and have designed our education programs for the community at large and professionals who are on the frontlines of this issue, including educators, mental health professionals, and organizations working with children.
Our education programs include TraumaTALKS for the community, TraumaTALKS for schools and organizations working with children, TraumaTALKS for mental health professionals, and our inaugural TraumaTALKS Conference. All education programs are given by Chester Street Foundation’s Founder and CEO, Shawn Alex Nemeth (a trauma survivor), along with other licensed mental health professionals.