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Prevalence of Trauma/Toxic Stress in Michigan

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (under the age of 18). For example:

  • experiencing violence or abuse
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Also included are aspects of the child's environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in a household with:

  • substance misuse
  • mental health problems
  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are widespread in Michigan with two-thirds (68%) of Michigan adults and more than half (58%) of Michigan youth reporting one or more. These experiences are a risk factor for numerous health risk behaviors, such as smoking, and for negative health outcomes, such as depression and asthma.

In Michigan, eight specific ACEs are tracked through the Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (MiBRFS) - an annual state-level telephone survey of Michigan residents, aged 18 years and older, conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The MiBRFS is part of the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). 

Michigan high school students annually participate in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) - part of a nationwide surveying effort led by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and conducted by the Michigan Department of Education. The YRBS is used to monitor students' health risks and behaviors in six categories identified as most likely to result in adverse outcomes.

The most recent available data from 2019 identifies the relationship between ACEs, health risk behaviors and negative health outcomes.