Promoting the Resilience of Parents of Young Children Who Face Toxic Stress

 

Grantee: Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation)
Timeframe: July 2022 – June 2023 | Amount: $50,000

Parents and children who experience trauma, racism, and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs, e.g., a parent with a mental illness) are disproportionately exposed to toxic stress, which is the chronic activation of the stress response system. Toxic stress in early childhood may lead to permanent changes in a child’s linguistic, cognitive, and social emotional skills; stress response; and health outcomes across the lifespan. Extensive research shows that the risk of poor adult health outcomes increases as the number of ACEs increases. Poor adult outcomes include substance use, mental illness, and interpersonal and self-directed violence, which place the next generation at risk of ACEs.

The 6-week mindfulness course, “Finding Your Way” targets the intermediate outcomes of parent resilience, responsive and mindful parenting, and nurturing parent-child relationships, which are linked to child well-being. Child well-being – specifically exposure to positive childhood experiences (PCEs) – is associated with better mental health in adulthood. Therefore, responsive parenting and parent resilience can counterbalance the impact of ACEs and toxic stress on child well-being and adult mental health outcomes.

Project Activities:

  • Offer a 6-week online mindfulness course twice in Spanish and twice in English. African American and Latinx parent leaders will facilitate with healthcare professionals. The Somali and Latinx program coordinators will manage logistics and invite parents. Participants learn: Mindfulness-based coping skills for stress management, self-compassion and self-care skills, and connection with others to ease social isolation (Parent-child mindfulness activities include simple ways to experience enjoyment and warmth with children).
  • Offer 16 online mindfulness sessions (8 each, Spanish and English) of 30 to 60 minutes. Parent leaders and healthcare professionals will facilitate the classes, which include similar activities to the 6-week course.
  • Obtain feedback and evaluate the impact of the 6-week parent course and facilitator training course.
  • Offer an online facilitator training course. OBCC will offer the 6-week “Deepening Practice: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Leadership Training Program” after the 6-week parent courses conclude. Sessions will include: Mindfulness and self-compassion activities, the opportunity to practice leading an activity, and a discussion about leadership and group dynamics

 

About Our Grantee

Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation)

Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic: OBCC is a primary care clinic offering medical, dental, nutrition, and mental health services to children and adolescents. The clinic also offers Women Infants & Children (WIC) services and provides community outreach services, social work, and care coordination. Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) supports the resilience of parents of young children (under age five) who face toxic stress with their English- and Spanish-language mindfulness courses that focus on responsive parenting, self-care and coping skills to manage stress.

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