Building a State of Resilience


Childhood should be a time for children to grow, develop, and dream, but for too many California kids, it’s a time of violence and pain. An adolescent health survey found that more than 50 percent of California youth have experienced one or more types of trauma early in their lives. Traumatic experiences frequently involve physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, but even witnessing violence in a home or neighborhood can leave lasting emotional scars.

Children who experience trauma struggle in school and in later life. Research shows that trauma is a leading predictor of school attendance, academic failure, and suspensions. Adults who were repeatedly exposed to trauma are also more likely to suffer from depression, engage in binge drinking, and have a heart attack.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Children can heal and rebuild their resilience if trauma is recognized and addressed. That’s why The California Endowment supports social-emotional health approaches in schools that emphasize positive behavior and empathy, show children how to calm themselves when they are anxious, and teach ways to resolve conflicts peacefully.

And if the effects of trauma weren’t addressed during childhood, it’s not too late to help adults dealing with trauma. Savings from the implementation of Proposition 47 will be used to provide more mental health care and drug treatment services. This will help adults build up the resilience they never had the chance to develop as children.

What We’re Doing:

  • Investing in the development of school-wide models that teach educators, school staff, and students about the impact of childhood trauma, along with strategies for healing and building resilience.
  • Working with counties and community advocates to ensure savings from Proposition 47 implementation are used for important services like providing mental health care and drug treatment services.

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