All this week, the Tulsa World is presenting a special report rooted in this fact: Oklahoma leads the nation in childhood trauma. How are the scars we leave on our children affecting our state, and what can we do about it? In this Tulsa World 8-day Breaking the Cycle series, we'll look at the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences, examine some of those suffering from them and look at ways to address the problem.
Part 4: For many trauma survivors, the key is breaking down what happened to them. That’s what therapy and mental health programs like the Mental Health Association of Tulsa’s Walker Hall can do
Tulsa elementary school gymnasium feels more like sanctuary thanks to caring teacher
Oklahoma ranks high for several social ills that have been linked to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores. A few examples:
No. 1 in female incarceration rates No. 1 in the nation in incarceration rates when other factors such as the juvenile and jail populations are included, according to a 2018 study by the nonprofit organization Prison Policy Initiative. No. 1 in heart-disease mortality No. 2 in male incarceration rates No. 3 in divorce with 13.1% of the state population reporting at least one marriage as ending in that manner, according to U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey statistics for 2013-17. No. 5 in cancer deaths per capita, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No. 5 in teen smoking with an estimated 12.5% of teens, according to CDC data.
No. 9 per capita in substantiated child abuse cases, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What is your ACE score and what does it mean? Understanding the consequences of childhood trauma
Adverse Childhood Experiences — ACEs — are linked to a wide range of physical and psychological problems, from obesity and drug addiction to cancer rates and domestic violence.
Part 1: The science is well established and should come as no surprise
'I've been there. I know.' Oklahoma's children top the nation in trauma suffered, and one survivor is doing his part to stop it
Part 2: Soda, cigarettes and trauma: How Adverse Childhood Experiences alter brain chemistry, cultivate unhealthy habits and prompt premature death
An adult to trust. Tulsa grief therapist Jessica Orvis turns child counseling into art form
Part 3: 'All I ever knew.' Drugs. Alcohol. Jail. Oklahoma's children repeat the patterns of their parents
She was always there. A court-appointed child advocate forms 20-year bond with two sisters
Part 5: After losing seven students in a tornado-stricken Moore elementary school, a counselor is helping Oklahoma schools become trauma-informed
One school district is leading the state and nation in approach to serving students grappling with chronic stressors
Central High School teacher advocated for Aylin Reyes once, now she advocates for children
Part 6: How a Tulsa real estate agent became Mama Linda to foster children
Part 7: Central High School football coach calls strenuous work with at-risk students 'the most rewarding experience of my life'
Part 8: What the leading voices for change say Oklahoma needs to reduce chronic childhood traumas
Tulsa World ACEs advisory board
A group of Tulsa’s leading experts on childhood trauma served as advisers to the Tulsa World’s reporting team. Kristin Atchley, former executive director of counseling at the State Department of Education Dr. Gerard Clancy, University of Tulsa president, psychiatrist (pictured) Joe Dorman, former legislator and CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Judge Doris Fransein, retired District Court chief juvenile judge Deidra Kirtley, Resonance Center for Women executive director Gail Lapidus, CEO of Family and Children’s Services Suzann Stewart, Family Safety Center executive director
Julie Summers, director of outreach and prevention at Mental Health Association of Oklahoma
Kristin Atchley uses past trauma to advocate for children dealing with adverse conditions