“We are destroying ourselves as a nation by not paying attention to childhood abuse and neglect.”
So says Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist who has studied post traumatic stress disorder in children and is widely regarded as an expert on childhood trauma. In fact, he founded the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network. Van der Kolk was speaking to an audience at the University of Montana to help launch a partnership between local schools and the university’s Institute for Educational Research and Service.
“As one of the leaders in the emerging field of childhood trauma, UM is helping these schools use behavior therapy to help children review traumatic experiences and reduce behavioral problems in a safe environment – and in a way that doesn’t create acute anxiety,” today’s story in the Missoulian reads.
And speaking of treatment for childhood trauma, I would be remiss not to mention yesterday’s excellent article noting that Youth Homes is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Over the course of those years, the organization has helped some 9,000 at-risk children through a variety of programs and services.
About Youth Homes’ work and fundraising efforts locally, executive director Geoff Birnbaum had this to say: “I can’t think of a better place to do this than in Missoula. I sometimes wonder if anywhere else can match the generosity of this community.”
Let’s hope the next 40 years more than matches the generosity Youth Homes has experienced thus far.