The Wexner Center for the Arts will highlight trauma in its a screening of ““Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope,” this Wednesday. Credit: Courtesy of Melissa Starker

Trauma will be the focus at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Wednesday, when filmmaker James Redford’s 2016 documentary, “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope,” will be screened and accompanied by a panel discussion.

The conversation will center on trauma-informed practices within community schools, health care facilities and social service agencies — specifically how adverse childhood experiences affect children and families over time.

“It will get people to start thinking about [trauma] and … how we intervene with people who are hurting, ” said Jo Dee Davis, founder of Healing Broken Circles, a nonprofit providing opportunities for people affected by the justice system. “I am very hopeful. We’ll get people started on a journey of finding out more about this, so we can be smarter.”

Davis will lead the discussion, alongside Karen Days, president of the Center for Family Safety and Healing, and Cheryl L. Ward, director of student and family engagement with Columbus City Schools.

Trauma caused by abuse, poverty or neglect can lead to chronic stress and physiological changes in children, making them more vulnerable to illness and incarceration.

“The brain is damaged,” Davis said. “There is physical damage to the brain, so … things have to happen if you want to intervene.”

By the end of the screening, Days hopes the audience will not be bystanders and instead act and speak up if they notice a person in crisis within their community.

“I hope … when [people] see the movie and listen to the panel, if they recognize someone — maybe a child in their classroom or a neighbor or a coworker — they can get the courage to ask questions and intervene appropriately,” Days said.

She remembers helping a young woman in her early 20s who came into the center after living on the street. She was sexually abused by her stepfather up until she was 14.

“We not only were able to get him arrested … but we were able to provide her with the necessary therapy that she needed,” Days said. “She said that for the first time in her life she felt whole, like she could make sense of her life. That’s too long for an individual to have that.”

The “Resilience” showing is a part of Wexner’s public programs, addressing the issue of trauma from a wide range of perspectives and voices to open dialogue with the audience.

“Trauma is real,” Davis said. “We have got to recognize it and acknowledge it and stop doing it.”

The screening will take place 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Admission is free.