DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt has toured all across the state, raising awareness for childhood trauma, something she says hits close to home.
"In many families across the state, mental illness is an issue a lot of us keep secret, and we battled internally in our families for a long time. I'm ready to raise awareness, but also connect communities with support and care," said Stitt.
As part of her tour, her staff welcomes a panel of local child advocacy experts, and shares a film with statistics on nationwide statistics on childhood trauma.
"It literally put into perspective things I experienced as a kid I knew happened to me but I couldn't quite put into perspective in my life of why I made decisions down the road. So this makes it understandable," said Stitt.
According to the latest Adverse Childhood Experience survey done by the CDC, Oklahoma has some of the highest rates of divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, and family violence in the country.
"I think focusing on child mental health and adolescent mental health is a way to make an impact in these statistics," said Stitt.
She plans on continuing this tour across Oklahoma for the next couple years.
"I believe as we start to look at the big picture across the state and we begin to address things from more of a foundational perspective, we will begin to see a difference," said Stitt.