OAKHURST — David Weikel, program supervisor for Madera County’s Behavioral Health Services, says the more adverse experiences a person has in childhood, the more they’re at risk for an array of health, mental health and social problems in their lives. Also, their level of risk for negative risk outcomes will vary depending on what those adverse childhood experiences were.
A discussion that focuses on these emotional traumas and mental illness will be the subject of a workshop presented by Weikel from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 8 at the Oakhurst Branch Library. The library is located at 49044 Civic Circle Dr., Oakhurst.
According to Weikel, the Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE’s, and Emotional Trauma study which started in 1995, has been conducted worldwide.
“The study, which is ongoing, found that ACE’s are very common. It also revealed that ACE’s can lead to risky outcomes related to mental health, substance abuse and a host of other social problems. The good thing is that, after two and a half decades, we can now help people overcome these life challenges,” he continues.
Weikel says study data revealed that almost two-thirds of surveyed adults reported at least one ACE while more than one in five adults reported three or more ACE’s. Regardless of the data source, however, the study findings repeatedly revealed a graded “dose-response” relationship between ACEs and negative health and well-being outcomes across the course of one’s life.
“A graded-dose response means that as the dose of the stressor increases, the intensity of the outcome also increases. As the number of ACE’s increases, so does the risk for depression, disability, unemployment, coronary heart disease, lowered educational attainment, suicide attempts and multiple sexual partners to name a few,” Weikel adds.
Some examples of an ACE include growing up in a household where alcohol or drugs were used and abused, parents were separated or divorced, not being given enough food to eat by parents when there was plenty of food to eat, being screamed at, being physically threatened or beaten and sexual assault or abuse.
Weikel, who has a doctorate in psychology, has been working in behavioral health services since 1996. He has also worked in jails, outpatient clinics, community outreach and public policy.
The free event, sponsored by the Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library, will be held in the library’s Community Room. The room is handicapped accessible and interpreters and translators are available upon request. Please RSVP or request translation services 48 hours in advance of meeting by calling Weikel at (559) 673-3508. A snack will be provided. For more information, call the library at (559) 683-4838 or visit .