The negative effects of stress on brain development; a short guide
Stress can have many unfortunately negative effects on brain development, particularly in young children whose brains are starting to rapidly develop as they grow up. While small amounts of stress can be a positive influence, pushing people to adapt to the changing circumstances, more serious levels of stress could activate a severe stress response. Toxic stress can occur when a child experiences an extreme level of strong, frequent or prolonged adversity, and they don’t have the support of caring adults in their life. For example, toxic stress can occur in situations of chronic violence; physical, emotional or sexual abuse; neglect; mental illness or drug addiction of a family member; or through living in severe financial hardship. In situations such as these, a developing brain can be severely affected and it can result in a poorly controlled stress response system that can be a harm all through that young person’s life. A poorly controlled stress response system may cause someone to over react to challenges faced, or to shut down and not react at all. With a strong and supportive adult in their life, these negative effects can be minimised or even prevented altogether.
The Wishing Well foundation
The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.
The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.
The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.
The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.
Support the Wishing Well
The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW. Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis. The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:
- Funding availability
- The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
- The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
- Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person
The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information: