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Kids Should Not Be Dealt a Hand Full of ACEs

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

by Jody North, Executive Director, MiND-AID

Oftentimes, when a young person reaches out to our MiND-AID navigation support service, they are not sure of the origins of their current struggle. Once we start to chat and the young person shares a bit about their background, our Navigators learn of the cards they have been dealt, and many have been dealt too many ACES.

In some card games, Aces are exactly what you want, but these are not the Aces I am referring to. In the mental health care field, ACEs refer to Adverse Childhood Experiences - or potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood between birth and seventeen. Some examples would be witnessing or being the direct victim of violence, abuse or neglect, losing or almost losing a loved one to suicide, growing up around substance abuse or unmanaged mental illness, parental separation or incarceration. ACEs can be anything that causes instability, threatens safety, or impacts healthy bonds in childhood.

ACEs are linked to mental illness, addictions and chronic health problems in adolescence and adulthood. ACEs can also have a negative impact on education and employment success. Just like when playing cards, a child cannot control the hand they are dealt but it will affect their future success in playing the game … of life.

ACEs can be prevented when parents/guardians are given the support they need to be healthy and to create the kind of home that feels safe, stable and loving. At MiND-AID, we assist children and teens in getting the support they need, but we also help young adults who are or may become parents themselves. Early intervention will result in less children being dealt a bad hand.

If you, or a young person in your life, are struggling and need support, please reach out to MiND-AID - a mental health care system navigation and support service for young people in Muskoka and get connected to the right services and resources for the need at hand. 844 MINDAID (646 3243)

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