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Helping Children and Youth Who Have Traumatic Experiences
Trauma experienced by children and youth is a pervasive and serious public health issue that requires a coordinated response from health and mental health providers. Traumatic experiences can include witnessing or experiencing physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; bullying;terrorism; loss of a loved one; family and community violence; refugee and war experiences; natural disasters; living with a family member whose caregiving ability is impaired;and having a life-threatening injury or illness. Recent data shows that 37% of youth experienced a physical assault during a 1-year period, and 15% of children and youth experienced maltreatment by a caregiver.1 Trauma during childhood is associated with a range of physical health and emotional problems, and most tragically, with suicide. Among youth ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.