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Talking about Toxic Stress: A Communications Toolkit

Experiencing serious and ongoing adversity during childhood can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain and body, contributing to later negative outcomes in health and wellbeing. At the same time, experiences of early adversity do not automatically translate into negative outcomes.

How can we talk about toxic stress without cueing the idea that early adversity leaves anyone who experiences it irreparably damaged?

One strategy is to couple talk about toxic stress with the concept of resilience to advance a sense that, with the right supports, individuals have the capacity to thrive in spite of adverse life experiences.

This toolkit, created in partnership with the Frameworks Institute and the Center’s Pediatric Innovation Initiative, offers guidelines and evidence-based best practices for communicating about development, stress, and resilience productively with individuals and communities who have experienced significant hardship and challenge.

Cover of Strategies for Effectively Communicating About Toxic Stress report

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Strategies for Effectively Communicating about Toxic Stress

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