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What's in your mental health toolbox? Exploring A.C.E's and Attachment Styles

This week on "Healing Through Conversations" we are working on putting more tools in your mental health toolbox.

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:

experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect

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 use problems

mental health problems

instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

Please note the examples above are not a complete list of adverse experiences. Many other traumatic experiences could impact health and wellbeing, such as not having enough food to eat, experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, or experiencing discrimination.

ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence and adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. However, ACEs can be prevented.

How do your childhood experiences affect your health, learning, and social outcomes?

Let's talk about it!


What's your attachment style? Have you ever heard of attachment styles? What are the signs for each style? Do you have a secure or insecure attachment style?

There's a lot to unpack.

• Secure: If you have this type of attachment style, your caregivers were likely emotionally available. They were sensitive to your needs and often responded appropriately. Infants with a secure attachment style were likely soothed by their caregivers when they were upset. Adults with this style are able to navigate relationships well and are generally loving and trusting toward others.

• Avoidant (aka anxious-avoidant): This type of style is considered an insecure attachment style. As a child, your caregivers may have been emotionally distant or absent. Children with this style likely didn’t seek out their caregivers during distress. They may have felt rejected and left to fend for themselves. Because of this, adults with an avoidant attachment style may have a hard time trusting others and have a strong sense of independence.

• Anxious (aka anxious-ambivalent): Also considered an insecure attachment style, children with anxious attachment styles may be clingy and crave attention from their caregivers, but may also then push them away. If you have this attachment style, you might have a tendency to be jealous and not trust others. You may also have an intense fear of rejection or being abandoned and alone.

• Disorganized (aka fearful-avoidant): Children with this attachment style, which is also considered an insecure attachment style, can seem confused at times. The actions and behaviors of their caregivers may not have been consistent. If you have this attachment style, your behaviors may appear confusing — you might be aloof one day and emotional the next. In adulthood, this attachment style is often associated with mental health conditions, such as mood disorders or personality disorders.

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I can't wait to talk about it.

Loveli xoxo


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