Call to Mind: Spotlight on childhood trauma

Call to Mind is an MPR content initiative around issues of mental health.
Call to Mind is an MPR content initiative to inform and mobilize new conversations about mental health.

MPR's Tom Crann hosted an event in Rochester, Minn., this spring with three experts who explore the impact of childhood trauma on mental health and suggest ways to build resilience in children.


Anne Gearity is a licensed independent clinical social worker, who treats children, adolescents and adults. She is a leading trainer, consultant and educator on the issue of childhood trauma as a clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

Resmaa Menakem is a national expert on cultural trauma. He is a licensed independent clinical social worker and founder of Justice Leadership Solutions in Minneapolis. He's also the author of "My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies."

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Denise Moody is assistant director of student services at Rochester Public Schools, and an adjunct faculty member at Winona State University teaching social work. She is also a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and founder of Resilience Impact, a resource for creating trauma-informed schools.

Introductory comments by Babette Apland, who leads "Call to Mind," MPR's initiative to foster new conversations about mental health:

"For the kids in our lives, mental health and well-being is especially important. Up to 20 percent of children experience a mental health disorder each year, and prevalence rates are increasing. Half of all mental illnesses first emerge by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24.

When a child feels intensely threatened by an event that they experience, that is trauma. Childhood trauma occurs more than most people think. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states more than two-thirds of children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16. The impact of child traumatic stress is significant and is linked to chronic physical and mental health conditions.

But there is hope. Children can and do recover from traumatic events, and you can play an important role in their recovery. One key is to approach children not with the question, 'what's wrong with you?' but rather, 'what happened to you?'

We just launched "Call To Mind" as a five-year initiative last May and we have wanted to have a discussion on childhood trauma. Because Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester Area Foundation and Rochester Art Center wanted to host an event in conjunction with their opening of the Science Museum of Minnesota's 'Mental Health: Mind Matters' exhibit, we found great partners to host this discussion. Many thanks to those institutions."