–submitted by Vikki Enright; photo by John Bonsett-Veal
Elizabeth Hudson, who was appointed by Wisconsin’s Governor in 2014 to create the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health, was our featured speaker on May 17. Hudson discussed the science of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and how early adversity, before age 18, can lead to ongoing struggles in adulthood. She discussed how food insecurity, poor health and toxic stress attack the developing nervous system. When neurodevelopment is compromised, anger, depression and poor health can make kids struggle in school, and as adults, they may continue to struggle in the workplace.
In her work with the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health, her team received a MARC Grant (Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities) and is engaging with the business community so they learn how to implement policies that help employees be more productive and offer a supportive environment for working parents.
Hudson also discussed how the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Small Business Development is addressing the issues of childhood development and health with the understanding that healthy families grow business. She acknowledged the efforts of Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) who was in attendance.
Hudson outlined some leadership goals for trauma-informed care. They include changes in corrections, instruction in school and recognizing the importance of incorporating mindfulness into business culture. In her work, Hudson has learned that resilient children thrive because they have access to a trusted adult who listens to their concerns. The audience followed up with several questions and comments. There was agreement that adverse childhood experience has always been with us, but the way we recognize and act on these issues has changed as we are more open to discuss problems and try to find solutions.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.