Children in places like Ferguson, Missouri are surrounded by violence. They may hear gunshots at night or see a playmate gunned down in broad daylight. This constant living with violence ratchets up the stress levels for children. It can curtail normal brain development and lead to lifelong health problems.
Reporter Nancy Cambria has written a compelling story about children grieving lost playmates and wondering whether they will be safe for another day. But the problems can start even before birth. Stress hormones can be passed from mother to unborn child. This can lead to pre-term births and higher infant mortality rates. Indeed, St. Louis’ poorest areas have infant mortality rates that rival third world countries.
Read The Crisis Within: How Toxic Stress and Trauma Endanger Our Children to learn more.