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What are ACEs? State summit examines connection between childhood trauma and mental health (


(Photo caption: Tennessee First Lady Chrissy Haslam addresses the annual Building Strong Brains Tennessee ACEs Summit, held at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Governor Bill Haslam/


One minute of complete silence.Fred Rogers, the beloved television personality of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," gave such a moment of contemplation to the graduating class of Dartmouth University during a commencement speech 16 years ago.

A minute to contemplate the people in those graduates' lives who helped them become the people they were at that moment.

In the same way, more than 340 teachers, doctors, researchers, therapists, judges and state legislators gathered together in Nashville on Monday and paused in the middle of a statewide summit about adverse childhood experiences to think about adults who had positively impacted them.

The takeaway of the exercise — and the summit — was to recognize how important positive personal connection is to the developing the brain and to discuss what can be done about addressing and preventing the childhood trauma that causes mental health issues later in life.

[For more of this story by Jessica Bliss, go to]

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