Imagine you’re standing on the edge of a river. Suddenly a flailing, drowning child comes floating by. Without thinking, you dive in, grab the child, and swim to shore. Before you can recover another child comes floating by. You dive in and rescue her as well.

Then another child drifts into sight. . . and another. . . and another. You call for help, and people take turns fishing out child after child. Hopefully before too long some wise person will head upstream to find out why so many children are falling in the river in the first place.

Often when people suffer from the effects of physical illness, and every time someone in our community commits suicide, when we have a school shooting, or when a child is separated from his or her parents we are suffering from the results of downstream thinking.

With this in mind Beech, Brook is reshaping the way we approach and do our work. We will be working every day to identify those who are experiencing unhealthy social determinants of health, working to reduce school violence, working to keep families together, and as our mission states, working to “help children and families thrive.” Today, Beech Brook is focused not only on treating but on preventing the devastating toll of a new epidemic – abuse, trauma, daily exposure to violence, the toxic stress of living in poverty – and its lifelong impact on our children, our families…and the future of our community.

We are moving upstream.

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