BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Adverse childhood experiences, trauma that occurs in a young person’s life, can have long-term effects in the emotional and mental health and well-being of individuals. This is a syndrome known as Toxic Stress, which Amy Travis, the executive director at First 5 Kern, spoke about during a Mindful Monday interview on 17 News at Sunrise.

The three categories that often times lead to occurrences of toxic stress in children are abuse, household dysfunction and neglect.

The distinction between toxic stress and general adversity is the ongoing nature of toxic stress, where the body exudes stress chemicals for prolonged periods of time, potentially leading to a decrease in cognitive development, or even an increased risk to things like diabetes and cancer.

Not all stressful situations can be avoided in a child’s life, but giving a young person the tools and support to work through those experiences and the emotions that come with them can go a long way, according to Travis.

“We’re all going to have stressful situations in our life and unfortunately we can’t shield our children from everything, but it’s really important to have what is called a resilient community or a community of people around that child that is offering supportive adult relationships, allowing that child to release the emotion that they may be going through,” Travis said during the interview.

For more information or ways you can help, visit or or call or text the California Parent and Youth Helpline at 855-427-2736.