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When Numbers Tell A Story (sensitive content)

Erin Mitchell

Trauma Matters Delaware, Executive Director

I was raised in the South. Eastern North Carolina to be exact. While North Carolina’s southern hospitality culture molded my upbringing in many positive ways, the geographic location is also a reminder of some of the most traumatic experiences in my life.

In 1984, my older sister wished for a sibling under the family Christmas tree and poof 8 months later, her 9-pound baby sister arrived minus the Christmas bow. Fast forward to 2003, that once cherub of a baby turned 18 with an adverse childhood experiences (ACE) score of 4+. Even if you are not familiar with the ACEs study, you can probably conclude that 4 or more adverse experiences before a child is 18, are not good.

In 2009, both of my parents survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident, leaving them both permanently disabled. In 2016, my first cousin was brutally murdered by her husband, who had been diagnosed with PTSD. At the infrequent times when I’ve tried to explain to a friend or colleague about my early childhood, my parent’s accident, or my cousin’s murder I think people assume that it’s too painful to share. While the primary and secondary traumas have had their effects on my life, I refuse to let them stop me from living.

3 months and 10 days after my cousin’s murder I married my best friend. 2 years later, we welcomed our boy-girl twins into this world. 6 months ago I started my dream job. As a personal advocate and now Executive Director for Trauma Matters Delaware (TMD), my mission is to tell my story of numbers as often as I can. To give hope to anyone who thinks data has to define them. In marveling over the kindness I have been shown since joining TMD in the fall of 2021, I have recovered a fondness toward myself and my story. Not the little girl with a 4+ ACEs score, this self. The human being I am today. I’ve had to learn to love this me. To be vulnerable and ask for help. If nothing else, I hope to be an example of a different set of numbers that beat the statistics. That is what wakes me up every morning, finding purpose in sharing with others and being a servant leader for TMD. 

Trauma Matters Delaware’s vision is a state where all people can feel safe, grow beyond adversity and thrive.  As we work toward that vision we invite dialogue and partnership across the spectrum of service sectors, geographic locations, populations, and communities.  

For more information about Trauma Matters Delaware visit here or email us at

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