Part 2 Mental Health Awareness month

In another part of her presentation for Mental Health Awareness month, Bath Community Hospital Social Worker Pari Baker described the ACE, or Adverse Childhood Experience questionnaire, which mental health professionals can use to assist in treatment. The study, which led to the development of the survey was sponsored by the Center for Disease control, and will continue as more data comes forth.

Since 2009 thirty-two states collected data on almost 54,000 clients receiving mental health care.

Ms. Baker described what to expect from the questionnaire.

“Actually it can kind of give you a heads up about things down the road that you might suffer from just because of all the trauma you’ve experienced.”


The ACE questionnaire identifies specific childhood experiences, and provides

“the connection between trauma earlier in life as predictors for both mental and physical health issues later down the road.”

Clinicians and therapists may or may not use the questionnaire as an early step in treatment, but Pari explained what it can do.


“It’s more a ‘here’s what you’re up against. But now that we understand what has happened to you, what you’ve been through, we can work with you to move forward to overcome it.

Here are the types of abuse that the ACE questionnaire acknowledges; so there’s physical, mental and sexual abuse, neglect, physical, and now emotional too because for the longest time know one really acknowledged if your parent wasn’t loving towards you, if they didn’t say ‘I love you”, if they didn’t show you the emotional support, that’s considered neglect too. We know that now. Now that seems like common sense, but for the longest time that was something that was totally ignored.”


Individuals who take the ten question ACE survey with a mental health professional, will learn how, as his or her score increases, so do the risks for, as Ms Baker continued

“disease, and social and emotional problems; so with an ACE score of four or more your likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390%. That’s not a typo, it’s 390%. Your chances of getting hepatitis increases 240%, your chances of being diagnosed with depression increase 460%, and your chance of committing suicide increases 1220% if you have a score of four or more in this.”


Just a few, among the many behavioral habits and health problems that correlate significantly with Adverse Childhood Experiences are smoking, alcoholism, obesity and even broken bones. Subjects in the study, before developing the ACE questionnaire needed to reach adulthood.


“That’s why the study kind of took a while, kind of waiting to see what develops for them later on down the road. Women are almost twice as likely to have a score of four or more. 9.2 percent of men out of the study had a score of four or more, but 15.2 for women.”


The Center for Disease Control’s website shows a whole section devoted to Prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Information there, and the remainder of Pari Baker’s presentation, also note the importance of Resilliency in counteracting effects of adverse childhood experience. and provide a measure for that as well. A few of her closing comments are included with this story at Allegheny

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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