April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month individuals, families, and communities come together to recognize the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect, which is necessary to create strong, healthy communities. This April, Southside Behavioral Health will display pinwheels outside each of our Child and Family Services locations as well as outside of our organization’s administration building in Clarksville, Virginia. Pinwheels are used each year during National Child Abuse Prevention Month to represent “a world where all children grow up happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed.”
In Virginia alone, 29 children died as a result of abuse or neglect during 2020. Additionally, there were a total of 909 accepted child abuse/neglect allegations during 2020 in the counties of Mecklenburg, Halifax, and Brunswick Virginia. These allegations include medical neglect, mental abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and substance exposure. Of these, physical neglect was cited as the most common occurrence of child abuse in the counties of Southside Virginia.
Child abuse/neglect events are called adverse childhood experiences and they have lasting effects on children’s mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that 62% of adults have at least one ACE while 1 in 6 adults have 4 or more ACEs. Ultimately, child abuse and neglect affect our entire community through long-term health impacts and increased costs to society.
To do our part, Southside Behavioral Health will also partner with other community health organizations to offer FREE Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences training sessions throughout April. Sign up for a virtual training today to learn how to reduce ACEs and ultimately improve the health of our communities.