Community members gathered to better understand toxic stress and identify activities to address it at an On the Pulse event at the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) on Friday, September 14. The event was a partnership between MOSH and the Healthy Start Coalition as part of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month.
The night went off with a literal bang as Alec Warren, a health educator from MOSH, demonstrated the chemical effects of stress working overtime in the body.
Stress is a normal and natural response to situations or events perceived as threats. When stress becomes toxic it can lead to weathering, a weakening of the body due to constant wear and tear – as shown scientifically through a burst balloon and an overheated gallon jug.
Faye Johnson, CEO of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, described toxic stress from the perspective of people living in stressful environments – hearing gunshots, police sirens and other startling sounds. Many women who consistently experience this kind of stress before they become pregnant are more likely to experience poor birth outcomes like premature birth, low birth weight or other complications. The Coalition’s goal is to reduce stressors and build the capacity of the community to ensure every baby has a healthy start in life.
The night finished on the MOSH rooftop with a sunset yoga class taught by Yoga 4 Change, adult coloring books and do-it-yourself sugar scrubs and stress balls. We hope that event guests take what they learned into the community to teach others how to reduce stress.
On the Pulse is a MOSH series of programs that takes an in-depth look at some of Jacksonville’s hardest hitting health issues while offering new views that actively challenge social stereotypes and promote acceptance.
Click here for photos of the event.