Michael Elizabeth sought to address the low level of understanding that many people have of childhood adversity, as well as of mental health and illness at large. Her project has centered on organizing and disseminating accessible, useful, and topical information related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and these experiences’ long-term negative effects on individuals, communities, and society. Many people are unaware of what ACEs are and how they can affect people in the short- and long-term; learning about ACEs can help not just to prevent adversity in the first place but help to overcome the lasting consequences of such experiences.
Michael Elisabeth’s Aspiration
Michael Elizabeth was inspired to pursue this project because she has observed adversity around her since she was a young age. As a child, she witnessed friends struggling after parents’ divorces, a family member’s incarceration, and their own physical and emotional abuse at the hands of adults; as she grew older and began studying psychology, she realized the field of childhood adversity was young and in need of further development. Childhood adversity has so many connections to other areas of global concern — forced migration, racial discrimination, and education, to name a few — but resources on adversity are often outdated, overly simplistic, and forget to highlight the individuals and communities behind statistics.
An accessible, open-access repository of information about childhood adversity and stories from people and communities affected.
Originally, Michael Elizabeth planned for the project to be purely social media-based given the uncertainty of in-person opportunities for action related to her project amidst the pandemic. She created social media profiles and worked to advertise her content by word-of-mouth and through digital connections. Around the mid-year mark, opportunities to do more in-person action emerged, so Michael Elizabeth found openings to share knowledge about childhood adversity in physical settings. With the Fellowship as her launchpad, Michael Elizabeth intends to make this project a lifelong endeavor into broadening understanding and deepening knowledge about childhood adversity.
Call to Action
Michael Elizabeth kindly asks that anyone reading this who may be interested in mental health follows her main Instagram page, @ChildhoodAdversity, and reach out with any questions they may have. One planned part of her Action Project is a podcast centering on stories of childhood adversity and of people’s lives following that adversity. Although learning the ins and outs of podcasting took longer than anticipated, Michael is hoping to start recording episodes in the new academic year. If you’d be interested in being interviewed for the podcast, please reach out to her, as she would love to explain the podcast in greater detail and have you on as a guest.
Updated June 2022