TED Talks on Trauma and PTSD

Mental Health @ Home - TED Talks on trauma

This week’s TED Talk picks are focused on trauma and come from a diverse range of experiences.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

(Nadine Burke Harris)

In this talk, Nadine Burke Harris passionately addresses the findings of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study. This study found a significant correlation between number of ACEs and long-term health outcomes, and Dr. Burke Harris explains how ACEs affect the developing brain.

She also uses science to challenge assumptions that are sometimes made, such as the idea that negative health outcomes are due to high-risk behaviours such as substance use. For anyone who’s not familiar with the ACEs research I would highly recommend watching this talk.

Art Can Heal People’s Invisible Wounds

(Melissa Walker)

Melissa Walker is an art therapist who works with veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. She found mask-making was highly effective in helping this population process the trauma they had experienced. This is a remarkable example of the healing power of art.

Could a Drug Prevent Depression and PTSD?

(Roberta Brachman)

In this talk, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman discusses the potential role of ketamine as a “paravaccine”, something that could improve stress resilience in vulnerable individuals in order to prevent the development of PTSD or depression. In tests conducted in her lab, a single injection of ketamine in mice offered protection from the effects of stress for weeks after receiving the shot. She also talks about some of the things that stand in the way of moving forward with this.

We Train Soldiers For War, Let’s Train Them to Come Home

(Hector Garcia)

Hector Garcia speaks about the effectiveness of PTSD treatments that can capitalize on military training to help veterans recover. Military personnel are highly trained to rationally gauge the statistical probabilities of danger, and this same type of approach can be used to help veterans accurately evaluate probabilities of danger back in the home setting. He also likened exposure therapy to a form of field training. This is a fascinating look at how familiar treatments can be adapted to serve this vulnerable population who are often silenced by stigma.

Finding Your Voice Against Gender Violence

(Meera Vijayann)

Meera Vijayann experienced sexual assault multiple times while growing up in India, beginning at age 7.  An important part of her recovery journey has been to engage in activism.  This was prompted by the horrific news of the woman who was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi and left to die.  Meera posted a vlog in response, which garnered international attention and helped her to realize that her voice mattered.  She continued to speak up about gender-based violence in India, with the goal of encouraging other women to use their voices to bring about social change.  Though her voices breaks as she recounts her experiences at the opening, this is a talk that is very much about finding strength following adversity.

There’s nothing weak about PTSD

This isn’t a TED Talk, and it may seem like an odd video to share. I stumbled across it on Youtube, having no idea that at 10:44 (where I’ve cued it to play), it would turn into a mental health video. Former British Army sniper Craig Harrison talks about developing PTSD, and how his dog saved him from killing himself.

The title topic is talked about for the first 10 minutes of the video, and LADbible TV comments that the title, which was approved by Craig himself, was deliberately intended to bring Craig’s story to an audience who wouldn’t necessarily click on a PTSD video.

After watching this video, Youtube recommended the video below, in which Craig responds to comments left on the first video, including accusations that he was a pussy for getting PTSD (at 8:52) and he was just looking for sympathy by talking about it. Non-military folks get judged for getting PTSD that is only expected to happen to those in the military, but then people in the military get judged for being pussies. Too much judginess, not enough compassion.

I think Craig did a good thing in doing these videos, so I wanted to include them here.

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8 thoughts on “TED Talks on Trauma and PTSD”

  1. Thank you for these Ted Talks! The agency where I’m employed is working to become a more trauma-informed organization. The number of kids we serve who have experienced trauma is increasing, so when my job showed that Ted Talk with Nadine at one of our all staff meetings I thought, ‘Finally!’ She brought validation to what Social Workers have been trying to tell people for some years. I haven’t heard of those other videos. I can recommend them to some of my colleagues.

  2. Completely and whole heartedly agree with Nadine. It’s something I tried to implement within the youth justice facility i worked for … it’s pretty much how i live … that one effects the other … but no-one wants to hear it and I too wonder if its more about shame or that it applies to more peeps than they care to admit because it takes hell’a courage to deal with it <3

  3. Dr Nadine is truly pioneering the ACES and hoping to extend worldwide. It is definitely changing the face of how we treat individuals within health and social care. Thank you for making the TED talks available! I myself hope to see Dr Nadine at a TED talk in Scotland in September, where there are hopes for Scotland to become the first ACE aware nation. Some great material. The documentary resilience featuring Dr Nadine is a great watch if you haven’t already seen it!

      1. Definitely – follows her opening of the youth wellness center and a few other moments. Superb animations of how aces can impact a child in that moment. Keep me updated on what you make of it 🙂

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