Over a twenty-five-year career in law enforcement, I witnessed the escalation and severity of mental illness and addiction, a tragic pandemic in communities across the US, Canada, and the world.
One of the major catalysts contributing to the current state, was the introduction of Oxycodone (Oxycontin) by Purdue Pharma, in the mid-’90s. I remember the progression of its use and abuse on the streets and decided to introduce proactive drug education projects in my community.
A tidal wave of social destruction was mounting beneath the surface. Addiction was growing exponentially, with too little done, too late.
Oxy’s (street slang) addictive nature, over-prescribing and heavy marketing left thousands of lives in turmoil. Following, unfolded the abuse of the non-crushable version of Oxycodone, Methamphetamine, Fentanyl and anything a person could make or take, to get high.
As overdoses escalated, every officer carried Naloxone as a standard to counter opioid overdose effects. Stories of people being revived from death were common.
I worked in the court unit and made frequent trips to the hospital, with prisoners experiencing severe withdrawals, an overdose, or an attempted or threatened suicide.
The names and faces changed, but seldom did the story behind the trauma.
Many shared a common thread – that of adverse childhood experiences: abuse (physical, emotional or sexual), trauma, abandonment, someone in the home who was a drug abuser or violent towards others in the home, and other unhealthy exposure.
In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019;68(44):999-1005. by Melissa T. Merrick, Ph.D. et al. titled “Estimated Proportion of Adult Health Problems Attributable to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Implications for Prevention – 25 States, 2015-2017” the association between life outcome and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were assessed.
The US study used BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) with 144,017 respondents from 25 US states, reporting on a range of health conditions and risk behaviors.
The respondents reported adverse childhood experiences, ranging from none, to four or more, i.e. exposure to abuse: mental, physical, emotional; household challenges, i.e. household member with substance misuse, incarcerated, mentally ill, parental divorce, or witnessing intimate partner violence, before the age of 18.
The study group also reported if they had any of these conditions (as advised by their health care professional): coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer (excluding skin), kidney disease, diabetes and depression.
Other topics in the survey included reporting BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine participants’ overweight or obesity status, smoking history and current use, and heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages.
The respondents also recorded socio-economic challenges, including lack of health insurance, unemployment status, and level of education.
The researchers concluded:
“Adverse childhood experiences, such as violence, victimization, substance misuse in the household, or witnessing intimate partner violence, have been linked to leading causes of adult morbidity and mortality. Therefore, reducing adverse childhood experiences is critical to avoiding multiple negative health and socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood.”
“Nearly one in six adults of the study population reported four or more adverse childhood experiences.” “Adverse childhood experiences were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes, health risk behaviors, and socioeconomic challenges.”
“Efforts that prevent adverse childhood experiences could also potentially prevent adult chronic conditions, depression, health risk behaviors, and negative socioeconomic outcomes.”
“States can use comprehensive public health approaches derived from the best available evidence to prevent childhood adversity before it begins.”
“By creating the conditions for healthy communities and focusing on primary prevention, it is possible to reduce the risk of adverse childhood experiences while also mitigating consequences for those already affected by these experiences.”
“Adverse childhood experiences can derail optimal health and development by altering gene expression, brain connectivity and function, immune system function, and organ function. (8) Adverse childhood experiences can also compromise the development of healthy coping strategies, which can affect health behaviors, physical and mental health, life opportunities and premature death.”
“Adverse childhood experiences have been linked to increased risk for alcohol and substance use disorders, suicide, mental health conditions, heart disease, other chronic illnesses, and health risk behaviors throughout life.”
WATCH CHARLENE RENAUD’S VIDEO ABOUT CHILDHOOD MENTAL ILLNESS, SOCIAL PROBLEMS & SUICIDES IN CANADA AND USA & A VIABLE SOLUTION TO THE CRISIS: https://youtu.be/gtpf_DuxEe0
“At least five of the 10 leading causes of death have been associated with exposure to adverse childhood experiences, including several contributors to declines in life expectancy.” “Preventing adverse childhood experiences is critical to addressing multiple public health and social challenges and to improving the lives of children, families, and communities.”
Precious Pinata® The Adversity-Buster
I created Precious Pinata® an original plush toy and book, intending to prevent childhood adversity, and grow healthy, safe and thriving children.
Precious Pinata® is not a typical Pinata. It is a huggable, eco-and-child-friendly stuffy, designed to incorporate psychology, early intervention, prevention, education and adult-child mentorship.
With world-first knowledge stuffing – seven fluffy different colored balls found inside of Precious’ zippered belly – kids learn about life, with the guidance of an adult presenting, Precious Pinata® What’s in Your Child’s Stuffing? guidebook.
Children soon realize the sources and outcomes of healthy or unhealthy stuffing (life experiences) on self and others.
One of the fluffy balls inside of Precious Pinata® is brown – named Pinata-Poop-Stuffing. Children giggle hearing this – a great method to ensure Precious’ lessons stick! This type of stuffing makes a person feel sad, angry, anxious or afraid. A child is encouraged to share these experiences with an adult right away – to work through feelings healthily and discover the source.
Children also learn about mental health and de-stigmatizing mental illness, e.g. people who are depressed need help and often speak with a doctor or therapist to help them with their stuffing (feelings, experiences). This is a good thing.
Watch Charlene speak about challenges facing children, such as anxiety, mental illness, and abuse and her new innovative teaching tool, Precious Pinata – https://youtu.be/gtpf_DuxEe0
Some of Precious’ topics: relationships, mental health, racism, bullying, emotions, sexual abuse, green earth, outdoor play, goals, leadership, gratitude, cultural diversity, Team 911, drugs, and more.
Dr. Rafiq, a specialist in mental health, addiction, and a psychiatrist with a fellowship in Canada, the USA, and a certified psychiatrist from the United Kingdom and Ireland said, “Precious Pinata® is the most comprehensive teaching tool for children I have come across, covering diverse topics, real-life situations, including social, emotional, environmental or physical issues.”
Jessica Gottlieb, MSW, PSW, T.S. of West Island Therapy Centre, Pierrefonds, Quebec uses Precious Pinata® with children who have anxiety, depression, and autism. Jessica wrote, “Precious Piñata® is a unique and innovative tool that assists my clients in identifying, and expressing their feelings. Precious Piñata® is a wonderful psychoeducational tool.”
I am on a global mission to end childhood adversity, using Precious Pinata® as the gateway tool.
Click: https://charlenerenaud.com/growing-confident/ to receive my FREE downloadable guide, “Growing Conﬁdent, Thriving, Energetic, Healthy and Safe Kids.”
I experienced more than four ACEs growing up – a suicidal parent, addiction, violence, detachment, and emotional abuse. I know how much it hurts. These experiences were ingrained in my subconscious mind, influencing my normal and how I perceived myself.
I write about life challenges, overcoming adversity, conscious awareness, faith, forgiveness, and investing in counseling and positive mentorship, as a launchpad to a new health paradigm, in my book for adults, The Pinata Theory® What’s in Your Stuffing?
Because of Covid-19, we are evolving through an unprecedented, twenty-first-century, global challenge. We have been forced into response mode. This disease has mirrored our weakness, inadequacy, poor planning, wasteful nature, disillusioned thinking and disconnectedness to people, animals and planet.
A national health crisis existed for decades well before this new strain of coronavirus.
Children are threatening/committing suicide and face unprecedented social, physical and mental health challenges, far greater than generations before.
Response mode isn’t working to address the Gigantic-Pinata-in-The-Room, my lingo for “The white elephant in the room.”
A research article “Suicidal Attempts and Ideation Among Children and Adolescents in US Emergency Departments, 2007-2015” published on April 19, 2019, in JAMA Pediatrics, used data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) to analyze over 30,000 visits to the emergency department for children, aged five to 18.
In the United States, suicidal behavior has turned into a public health crisis, with the number of suicidal attempts or suicidal thoughts more than doubling, from 580,000 emergency room visits in 2007 to 1.12 million in 2015. The median age was just 13 years old and nearly half were for young children aged five to 11.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth age 10 – 18 in the USA.
We are failing miserably at protecting our most precious resource – children.
I have a partial theory about why kids are suffering and getting sick. We’ve vastly discarded the necessary developmental component of healthy bonding and communication, lost through the overuse of devices, busy schedules, and adverse childhood experiences.
Precious Pinata® purposefully integrates good ole sit-down and talk about life and bonding, into its success methodology. Parents, educators, and therapists report kids are speaking up and asking questions.
We must re-design our health, education and social strategy, investing in resources that are prevention-based, affordable, life-realistic, transportable, easily adapted, and engages people.
Precious Pinata® is a great resource to address and prevent current and future health crises. It is a life manual for kids.
Children are precious and deserve the best life possible.
Charlene Renaud is a professional speaker, Certified Life Coach and best-selling author, with 25years of service in law enforcement. Her thought-provoking book for adults – The Pinata Theory®, and Precious Pinata® (original character and guidebook, designed to teach children about health, safety and life skills) have been featured on Canadian and International news shows, television, podcasts, radio and in magazines.
Charlene has a global vision to end childhood adversity and promote the well being of children through Precious Pinata® character, Precious Pinata® mascot, the Precious Pinata® song and public events for families and communities.