YWCA Greater Cleveland #YWCAEquityChallenge Day 5: From Trauma to Healing “Research has linked racism to a host of other problems, including serious psychological distress, physical health problems, depression, anxiety, binge drinking, […]
YWCA Greater Cleveland #YWCAEquityChallenge Day 5: From Trauma to Healing
“Research has linked racism to a host of other problems, including serious psychological distress, physical health problems, depression, anxiety, binge drinking, and even disordered eating… Research shows that trauma can alter one’s perceptions of overall safety in society.” Monnica T Williams Ph.D. (Psychology Today)
The EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council has identified Toxic Stress the main threat to youth safety in Cleveland. Toxic Stress is an unaddressed stress or combination of stresses caused by extenuating and abnormal circumstances such as poverty, mental illness, abuse, violence, and racism that goes untreated. Toxic Stress in youth directly leads to PTSD in adults.
Our Youth Council, a group of young people ages 15-25, has worked together over the past year and a half to identify major threats to youth safety and have created recommended solutions through policy and program recommendations provided to City of Cleveland. Among them, 100% of the EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council has experienced Toxic Stress. Given poverty rates, access to mental health resources, and other factors, the percentage of youth who have faced Toxic Stress in Cleveland is what they call an epidemic. Through their recommendations, the Youth Council is implementing awareness, research, and programming tools to PREVENT toxic stress rather than REACT to it in collaboration with EYEJ. They have designed and promoted policies and programming keeping youth of Cleveland in mind and working with high-level change agents to create open lines of communication and equipping youth with the tools and resources they need to combat Toxic Stress.
EYEJ originally incorporated “Stress” as a topic in their Discussion Series in 2015 thanks to Advisory Council member and CEO of Positive Education Program: Habeebah Rasheed Grimes. Over the past year, EYEJ transformed this topic into Toxic Stress through the EYEJ Discussion Series due to the relevancy and importance of this subject. Through our Discussion Series and data collection we have seen multiple counts of healing occur. For example, when we had a 12 year-old explain how he saw a man get shot right in front of him. Through our Discussion Series, and our volunteers we were able to help him cope with the stress and heal. Much work still needs to be done.
As Dr. Williams explains in her article “The Link between Racism and PTSD,” Racism has long-term effects on a person’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Majority of the youth that we serve are indeed minorities and African-American in which racism is present all day, every day. EYEJ is committed to supporting our youth and equipping them with the tools to combat relevant daily issues including racism (another topic in our Discussion Series) to help achieve social justice.
If you are a youth and interested in helping to combat racism and toxic stress for youth, and are age 15 – 25 and a resident of the City of Cleveland, apply to join the EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council Today!
Not a resident of Cleveland, but still want to be a part of creating positive change? Apply to be an EYEJ Impact 25 Youth Council Ambassador for Greater Cleveland!
#WeAreEYEJ #EYEJYouthSpeaks #ABetterMeABetterCLE #YWCAEquityChallenge