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Childhood traumas forum set for Thursday at The Refuge in DL

The long-term impact of abuse, neglect and other traumatic childhood events on an adult survivor's mental and emotional health has long been documented. But did you know that these Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, can have physical and behavioral consequences as well?

Recognizing and understanding the impact of childhood trauma on an adult's physical, emotional and mental wellbeing will be the focus of a community forum set to take place this Thursday, April 19 in Detroit Lakes.

This forum, titled "Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences: Building Self-Healing Communities," will get underway at 6 p.m. Thursday inside The Refuge of Detroit Lakes, located at 921 Eighth St. SE.

The event will begin with a presentation by Chandler Esslinger of Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, which has offices in Detroit Lakes, and Debra Sherette, community education coordinator for Prairie St. John's, a psychiatric hospital and mental health clinic located in Fargo.

"I am a trained presenter on ACEs," says Esslinger, who serves as the community health coordinator with the family health services department at Mahube-Otwa.

Esslinger says Thursday's presentation will focus on "the relationship between ACEs and adult behaviors, health inequities and resiliency," and will be followed by a facilitated group discussion.

"Our main goal is educating the general population of Becker County on what ACEs are and what they mean for not only young children who may be struggling with behavioral issues or trauma in general but also the impact they can have on your health and wellness later in life," she explained.

Once that baseline understanding has been created, Esslinger added, the focus can shift toward building "self-healing communities," where people in the community regularly engage in communication and cooperative action aimed at preventing ACEs, as well as helping those who have been most impacted by them.

Esslinger said that Thursday's forum is expected to last approximately 90 minutes, and it is free and open to the general public.

For more information, please contact Mahube-Otwa Community Action, 218-847-1385, or The Refuge, 218-847-1982.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454