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Childhood PTSD - Calming the Storm within a Child’s Heart

June 13, 2017

For many Americans, the term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, summons images of soldiers, scarred by the horrors of combat on a distant shore. Or else, it calls to mind the survivors of some unimaginably cataclysmic event. A bombing. A tsunami. A plane crash. These are the visible traumas. The ones that stop us in our tracks and take our collective breath away with the mere magnitude of their impact. But trauma is not reserved for those tragedies which thrust themselves before the public eye.

For too many children, trauma is an invisible reality of daily life. It exists in quiet neighborhoods, behind closed doors and sealed lips. Neglect. Domestic violence. Sexual abuse. The loss of a loved one.  These horrors are not announced with explosions or news reports, but the weight of their impact is no less real for those who endure them. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported an approximate 683,000 children nationwide fell victim to abuse or neglect. As a result of this victimization, 5% of adolescents experience the symptoms of PTSD at some point in their pre-adult lives, per the National Comorbidity Survey Replication - Adolescent Supplement.

Children are less well equipped to process trauma than adults. They lack the emotional and intellectual capacity to cope with the immense anguish of their situation. Tragically, young people who have suffered trauma are at greater risk of falling victim to substance abuse and self-destructive behavior.  Left unaddressed, childhood PTSD can lead to a lifetime of complications, such as anxiety, attachment disorders, and behavioral issues which can seriously impede an individual’s ability to lead a healthy and successful life.

At Casa Pacifica, we believe every child has the right to love, support, and mental health. We have made it our mission to come up alongside children and families struggling to overcome the most difficult and painful of circumstances. We offer a wide variety of programs, both on our friendly residential campus and within the community, specifically designed to meet each child’s individual needs at whatever level of care they may require. Casa Pacifica is proud to provide therapeutic and supportive services to over 4,000 children, youth, and young adults each year.

If you are a family in need of support, or know a child who could benefit from our services, do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling (805) 366-4000. This small act could make a world of difference in the life a suffering child. You can also visit our site for information on how you can have a positive impact by volunteering your time, becoming a foster parent, or financially partnering with Casa Pacifica in our ongoing mission to provide hope and help to children and adolescents.