Thrive Ottawa County Launches Adverse Childhood Experiences Awareness Campaign


May 28, 2020
For Immediate Release
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Thrive Ottawa County Launches Adverse Childhood Experiences Awareness Campaign

Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs are known to affect physical, emotional, and social health of individuals

Thrive Ottawa County, a collaborative effort between dozens of Ottawa County organizations, has begun a campaign to educate the general public about the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  There is a strong connection between childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and an adult's physical, emotional, and social health outcomes.

In 2017, the Ottawa County Community Health Needs Assessment conducted a first-ever ACEs study on local residents which measured the 11 adverse experiences a child may have that qualify as an "ACE", including having the presence of substance abuse, an incarcerated parent, or domestic violence in the home or experiencing varying levels of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.  The study conducted in Ottawa County was able to show that 14% (or roughly 40,000) of all Ottawa County adults have experienced four or more ACEs as a child (matching national statistics).  A highlight of some of the mental and physical health consequences of having four or more ACEs in Ottawa County are:

  • 42.3% are experiencing anxiety (compared to 6% of adults with zero ACEs)
  • 48.5% are experiencing depression (compared to 7.3% of adults with zero ACEs)
  • 41.2% are obese (compared to 26.3% of adults with zero ACEs)
  • 50.3% have attempted suicide among those who have considered suicide (compared to 0% of adults with zero ACEs)

Thrive's goal is to educate as many people as possible and equip key audiences (including those in the fields of education, healthcare, faith, and law enforcement) with knowledge of community resources, and referral options.  As part of the education strategy, Thrive Ottawa County has trained roughly 100 "Community Champions" who are being deployed into the community to provide trainings to the general public as well as targeted audiences.  Thrive has now launched a public awareness campaign to help educate the broader community regarding ACEs and how to build resilience despite experiencing childhood trauma.

About Thrive Ottawa County:  Thrive Ottawa County is a group of West Michigan organizations and individuals dedicated to informing our community about the importance of understanding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), providing local ACEs data, and linking people to resilience resources.  Visit us online at