Recognising The Impacts Of Childhood Trauma

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It may seem an obvious link to make, that childhood trauma or abuse can impact on the mental health of adult survivors. This obvious link is one that the Blue Knot Foundation is asking all Australians to recognise on Blue Knot Day this Monday, 24 October.

This year is the 21st anniversary of the Blue Knot Foundation, formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), and the vitally important work that the foundation and its Blue Knot Helpline in the support of adult survivors of child abuse or trauma will be celebrated as the sails of the Sydney Opera House glow blue from dusk on Blue Knot Day.

“The colour blue in Blue Knot Foundation represents the clear blue sky of possibilities which are there for us all, and, as adults, we can recover and live healthier more connected participating lives, no matter how many years ago and how devastating our trauma was,” said Blue Knot Foundation President, Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, herself a survivor of childhood trauma.

 If you or someone close needs some support, help is available:

Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380

If you are experiencing distress, please call:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Emergency: 000

As the leading national organisation working to advance the needs of the estimated five million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse, the Foundation’s Blue Knot Helpline, provides specialist short-term trauma counselling, support and information to help survivors find a path to recovery. The Helpline responds to over 5,000 calls per annum, but also misses over 350 calls per month due to resourcing constraints.

Blue Knot Foundation gathers data revealed by callers, including on the types of childhood trauma or abuse experienced and their impacts. Callers often choose to remain anonymous and all data is de-identified. The most significant impact revealed by close to 3,500 callers over an eight-month period is on their mental health, with 88 per cent of callers disclosing at least one adverse mental health impact associated with their childhood trauma, with most survivors disclosing more than one mental health impact.

“These statistics show the devastating impacts of childhood trauma, even in adults. With one in four Australian adults affected by childhood trauma, the human cost is significant for a massive number of Australians. These impacts are severe, affecting a person’s health, wellbeing, relationships, their careers, and their quality of life. We know that people can and do recover with the right support but that support is often not affordable, accessible or available.”

Dr Kezelman said the statistics demonstrate the critical need for investment in more support services, with the Blue Knot Foundation estimating the annual cost of unresolved childhood trauma in adults to be $9.1 billion. With so many cases of childhood trauma remaining unreported, that figure is likely to be a conservative one.

To get involved in Blue Knot Day 2016, visit

If you need help, information, support or referral, call Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. between 9am-5pmMonday to Sunday AEST.

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