Energizing a Trauma-Informed Response to COVID-19: An Opening to Seize within Current Federal Funding
April 2020 · Advocacy, Coronavirus, Ministry News
In 1918, my grandfather lost both of his parents to the Spanish flu within a week of each other. He was seven when his mother died, had his 8th birthday the following week, then lost his father. Grandpa Johnny was separated from his three siblings and placed into the abusive home of a relative. At age 12, he escaped to live on the streets until he found his own placement with a couple as their house servant. The most he ever said about his experience was that he wasn’t smart enough to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor because he dropped out of school in the 8thgrade. My grandfather was smart enough to be a doctor, but the trauma of his stolen childhood shut that door.
The fear, anxiety, isolation, grief and economic insecurity from the COVID-19 pandemic are traumatic experiences that will have lifelong consequences for our physical, mental and emotional health. Research from past disasters shows that children are particularly negatively impacted by disaster, and for many like Grandpa Johnny, their life trajectory will be altered. Already, we are seeing increases in child maltreatment cases, calls to domestic violence and suicide help lines, and overwhelming demand for nutrition assistance as a result of the pandemic. It is critical that we take immediate action to support families during this time.