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What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to thrive, adapt and cope despite tough and stressful times – or said simply, it’s the ability to bounce back.  Learning to identify and control emotions, developing problem-solving skills, learning and applying activities to reduce stress, and practicing good habits for sleep, healthy eating and regular exercise all contribute to our resilience. We can develop strategies to build resilience skills with a child, with a family, and even with a school or community. 

Why is resilience important?

Resilience is important so stress doesn’t negatively impact a child. We know that having multiple types of stressful experiences or ongoing experiences of not being cared for or hurt by caregivers, may have life-long negative effects on physical and emotional health. Resilience provides the child what they need to be ok after traumatic events and helps reduce negative impacts.  Having resilience can help keep a child’s development on a track toward life-long positive health, mental health, educational success, employment, and relationships.

What are some key protective factors?

Some of the key protective factors include the support of parents and friends, stable, secure attachment to parents or a primary caregiver, concrete/tangible help in times of need, parent’s knowledge of the child’s development and child’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviors. Vermont uses the *Strengthening Families® framework to guide our work across the child and family system of care.

What does our mental health system do in terms of promoting resilience?

The approach to building resilience will look different for early childhood, school-aged children, and youth moving into adulthood. We work with all generations of a family, focusing on what the family needs  to build parenting skills, family supports, identify healthy family activities, and develop healthy emotional, social and behavioral skills in children.  By working with others who provide services and supports for children and families, promoting partnerships with primary care doctor, childcare and other early childhood settings, schools, and other key providers and important people to the family.  The mental health system can offer support, services, and treatment with families in their home, community, or at the mental health clinic. 

For more information about resilience, toxic stress, and Strengthening Families/ Youth Thrive: