MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new study shows more than half of adults in Shelby County have experienced some kind of trauma as children. The disturbing statistics were released Thursday to community leaders at a meeting at the Kroc Center.
The research was part of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, which was conducted by a private company out of Philadelphia and privately funded. A phone survey was given to 1,500 Shelby County residents.
The research released Thursday showed some startling findings, including 37 percent of adults saying they witnessed a shooting or a stabbing as a child.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell addressed the large crowd at the Kroc Center Thursday. He said he doesn’t always agree with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton politically, but there is one thing they do see eye-to-eye on.
“We must as a community address the issues of trauma in our community, of tragedy,” he said.
Several people spoke at the two-hour conference, sharing the research. According to the speakers, the most common factors for an adverse experience were substance abuse in the household, emotional abuse, and violence between adults in the home.
Certain adverse experiences were also higher in Shelby County, like sexual abuse. Twenty percent of Shelby County adults reported experiencing sexual abuse as a child, compared to 11 percent in Tennessee and 12 percent across the nation.
“What were hoping today to do with that information is be able to provide resources to families in the earliest stages,” Cynthia Allen, who is the system community involvement manager for Baptist Memorial Health Care, said.
Allen is working to get the parenting centers started in Memphis. She said the information presented Thursday proves why they are crucial for the area.
Many people came to see how their company could work with the center’s resources and share the information.
“So then we can pass it along to the families we’re working with at Le Bonheur that we’re working with,” Jenni Prince, who’s doing work with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, said.
Ultimately, organizers said this research shows everyone could use some help, which is why they want to make sure once these parenting centers open, everyone is welcome.
“It’s not targeting any specific population, it is certainly addressing every economic background, no matter what your education attainment or income is,” Allen said.
WREG is still learning more about the centers. The Baptist Universal Center on Humphries is expected to open in March. Some employees have already been hired. A second center should open in April.
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