What are ACEs?
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are traumatic events that happen in childhood (age 0-17) and can result in physical, developmental, and behavioral health problems, including a shortened lifespan. Examples of these types of traumatic events include experiencing or witnessing physical violence at home; being repeatedly put down, humiliated, or ignored by a caregiver; and not being protected from unsafe situations or cared for when sick or injured. Situations that influence a child’s sense of safety, stability, and bonding may also be considered Adverse Childhood Experiences. These may include growing up in a household with substance misuse, mental health problems, or instability due to parental separation or the incarceration of a family member.
An estimated 62% of adults surveyed across 23 states reported that they had experienced one ACE during childhood and nearly one out of four reported that they had experienced three or more ACEs.
ACEs can have negative, lasting effects on health, well-being, and success. These experiences can impact healthy brain development, weaken immune systems, and lead to substance misuse and other unhealthy coping behaviors.
Research shows that these experiences increase the risks of injury, sexually transmitted infections, mental health problems, maternal and child health problems, teen pregnancy, a wide range of chronic diseases, and the leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide.ACEs can also negatively impact school performance, employment, and earnings potential.
Treatment to reduce the negative effects of ACEs may be used to address depression, fear, and anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder; problems adjusting to school, work, or daily life; and other symptoms of distress. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, please contact any of the following services:
CalOptima Behavioral Health
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for members seeking outpatient mental health services.
1-855-OC-Links or 1-855-625-4657
Provides telephone and online support for anyone seeking linkage to any of the Health Care Agency’s Behavioral Health Services
Orange County Mental Health Plan Access Line
Specialty mental health and/or substance use services. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA)
Please contact the mental health customer service number on the back of your insurance card to be linked to a covered service professional in your area.
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
Struggles around housing and food are two very common problems in our communities today. Millions of families in the U.S. can’t find or stay in safe housing and over 500,000 are homeless. Additionally, one in eight families has trouble getting food or does not have enough food. Despite these statistics, there are resources to help.
Whether you need to find an emergency shelter, avoid homelessness, or get help staying in your home, 211 can provide assistance. Visit 211oc.org or call 2-1-1 to speak directly to a live service professional in your area. 211 can also link families to resources in the community such as food pantries, food delivery services, and public health benefits like SNAP and WIC.
The following are two Orange County locations where food is collected and given out to those in need:
Second Harvest Food Bank of OC
Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank
To learn more about free groceries and meals in your neighborhood, or to make an appointment to meet with a CalFresh (previously Food Stamps) Application Assistor, please call the Second Harvest Helpline toll-free at 855-2-FeedOC or 1-855-233-3362.
Visit OCFoodHelp.org for an interactive map of local soup kitchens, food pantries, and after-school meals.