Toxic Stress and Its Impact on Early Learning and Health

  • 10/4/2013 | 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Location: Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium
  • Event Type: Lecture

Toxic Stress and Its Impact on Early Learning and HealthChildren's Mental Health and Well-Being Focus of Symposium Oct. 4-5

Keynote address by internationally renowned neuroscientist Dr. Pat Levitt

Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center, October 4-5, 2013

More than a year ago a group of Maine healthcare providers and community leaders in midcoast Maine began meeting to share growing concerns about the well-being of our children generally and specifically the increasing number of Maine children struggling with mental health challenges. They decided to take discussion and action to the community level.

On Saturday, October 5, Bowdoin College will host a "Communities in Action" symposium to provide a better understanding of the behavioral and mental health challenges facing today's children and younger adults. All community members including business leaders, healthcare providers, clergy, parents, teachers, policy makers, child care providers, and coaches are encouraged to attend the daylong conference. Registration and event details are available at

Friday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Pat Levitt, an internationally renowned neuroscientist from the University of Southern California and Director of the Developmental Neurogenetics Program at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, will deliver a public address.

Dr. Levitt will share the latest research on the impact of stress and trauma on children's brain development and the implications of that research for the role of the community and public policy in prevention and intervention.

The events will help participants better understand the behavioral and mental health challenges facing very young children, young adults and families, with an emphasis on why recognizing and addressing early childhood development is a community concern.

The public lecture Friday night at 7:30 in Kresge Auditorium is free and open to the public.

According to a new report by the CDC:
- One in five children, birth to 18 years old, has a diagnosable mental disorder
- Nearly five million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness (one that significantly interferes with their day-to-day life)

"Twenty percent of children will have some type of mental health diagnosis. I am seeing many more young children struggling with some very severe behavioral and mental health issues," says Dr. Deborah Hagler, a pediatrician at Martin's Point Health Care and one of the symposium organizers and presenters.

"We don't have enough support for the volume of problems we are starting to see. It takes a team to help children and families with mental health challenges. Having a community conversation is a good thing going forward."
The event is being sponsored by the United Way of Mid Coast Maine, Mid Coast Hospital, Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine, Martin's Point Heath Care, John T. Gorman Foundation, The Bingham Program, Fair Point Communications, FHC, Norway Savings Bank, Bath Savings Institution, Sweetser, Community Counseling Center, and the Davenport Trust Fund, as well as Bowdoin College and its Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good.
For more information, and to register, go to; or contact Mid Coast United Way at 207-443-9752.