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The month of May is a national month dedicated to raising awareness about mental health. Mental health is shaped by many things, especially by experiences we have growing up. Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) are traumatic events that occur before 18 years old and can lead to toxic stress which negatively impacts your mental health. Sometimes we don’t even realize how these past events can affect our current feelings, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. 

ACEs and toxic stress can contribute to different problems including:

  • Physical illness

  • Mental health issues

  • Difficulty in school/work

  • Alcohol or substance abuse

  • Relationship problems 

Just know you are not alone

3 out of 5 people in California have experienced at least one ACE.

1 out of 5 youth and young adults in California have experienced four or more ACEs.

Live Beyond Campaign

It is important to understand that past experiences do not define who you are and are not your fault, however, they can have long-lasting effects on your mental health. 

In California, the Office of the California Surgeon General is working to address mental health and provide education about ACEs through the Live Beyond campaign. This campaign aims to address the effects of ACEs and toxic stress and provides resources on how to live beyond these experiences and start healing. 

Start Healing

It’s never too late to find support and start healing from ACEs and toxic stress. The Live Beyond ACEs campaign offers resources for parents/caregivers and youth to guide them through their healing journey. 

This free app offers coaching and mental health support for parents or caregivers in California. 

This free and confidential app offers one-on-one counseling for teens and youth. This app also offers de-stress tools, forums, and journals. 

If you or someone you love are in a crisis or need someone to talk to:

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a 24/7 hotline for people who are in a crisis, have thoughts of suicide, or just need someone to talk to. Call or text 988. You can also chat at



Teenline is a hotline operating from (6pm to 10pm) for teens by teens. 

Call 1-800-852-8336 or text TEEN to 839863

Learn more about ACEs here

More resources from the BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center Community Health Library:

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