We have taken the title of the 2023 Jack Tizard Memorial Conference from a current WHO review by Professor Mark Bellis and colleagues from the Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Wellbeing. The idea of taking stock, and reviewing our thinking about Adversity, Trauma and the mental health and well-being of children and young people is a timely theme. We are seeing an exponential rise and persistence of children and young people’s mental health problems– associated with exposure to the extreme adversity the disruption their lives of the Pandemic, the Cost-of-Living Crises; the images and effects of Wars, Refugee crises, Earthquakes, and Climate events.
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Don’t forget as a charity any surplus made is reinvested back as we work to our vision of ‘Sharing best evidence, improving practice’, and our mission to ‘Improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 0-25’.
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- PLEASE NOTE: You cannot book onto this event after the event has started on 20 June 17:00 UK time
About the talks
Professor Mark Bellis
He will discuss the current understanding of ACEs and the growing awareness in multiple sectors and agencies that the issues they see in people’s lives, whether health, education, social or criminal justice related, are often rooted in the same childhood adversities, and resulting toxic stress responses. He will discuss the need to develop preventative approaches.
Dr. Jessie Baldwin
She will discuss what we know (and don’t know) about the extent to which ACEs cause mental health problems. This will involve considering the challenges to causal inference posed by observational research on ACEs, before reviewing quasi-experimental evidence on the effects of ACEs on mental health.
Professor David Finkelhor
He will present on the issue of screening for ACEs – the challenges and opportunities. He will review the variety of screening tools that have developed for ACEs and will discuss the pros and cons of health screening in general. He argues that screening tools should be accurate including a threshold for referral. There should be available, evidence-based treatments for identified cases that there should be minimal or tolerable negative side effects and the benefits should outweigh the costs.
Professor Andrea Danese and Dr. Alan Meehan
They will present recent research on individual risk prediction from ACEs screening, revisiting data from the original Adverse Experiences Study as well as data from the E-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study and the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study to test the ability of the retrospectively reported adverse childhood experience score to discriminate between adults with and without a range of common health risk factors and disease conditions. Screening based on the adverse childhood experience score did not accurately identify those individuals at high risk of health problems. This can lead to both allocation of unnecessary interventions and lack of provision of necessary support. The presentation will also explore novel approaches that can improve predictions.
Professor Judith Cohen
She will present an updated review of Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), developed by Judith Cohen with Anthony P. Mannarino and Esther Deblinger. It is the most supported treatment for the impact of trauma in children and includes components to address traumatic grief in children. The approach aims to develop a trauma- narrative of traumatic experiences, as a way of making them ‘memories’ rather than re-living them. The evidence shows that the TF-CBT reduces traumatic symptoms and helped to reduce associated symptoms of anxiety and depression. Judith will give 1) a brief description of TF-CBT, 2) update on current TF-CBT research, and 3) recent TF-CBT applications.
Dr. Fiona Turner and Gary Kainth
They will be presenting the BeST trial, which is a randomised controlled trial for abused and neglected Children under 5 who are placed in foster care. The trial, running in Glasgow and London, compares an Infant Mental Health approach with social work ‘services as usual’ on the outcomes of child mental health and time to permanent placement. With each approach offering a different lens to assessing cases of maltreatment, the research will have an important influence on the way decisions are made when young people are identified who have experienced significant adversity. Running alongside the trial is qualitative process evaluation of the context in which the services are embedded, which is shedding important light on the factors that affect decision-making in early life adversities.
Dr Kirsten Asmussen
She will be presenting and updating findings from the reviews of ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ and ‘Improving the lives of vulnerable children’. In the ACEs review she commended the enthusiasm for tackling ACEs –e.g. the introduction of Trauma Informed Care, but felt there was a need to create comprehensive public health strategies in local communities on the basis of what works to improve the outcomes for children. This requires effective leadership, strong professional workforces, and strong services. In the ACEs review 33 interventions representing 10 intervention models with robust evidence were identified preventing ACEs, reducing the health-harming behaviours associated with ACEs, or reducing ACE-related trauma.
She will be presenting developments in the whole school approach to ACEs awareness and trauma informed practice in Wales in educational settings. Comprehensive ACE awareness and trauma informed practice training programs increase staff understanding of the impact of ACEs and their impact and how to help children build resilience. The training has been delivered to primary and secondary schools throughout the country, preschool settings, parents group and the approach taken forward with education colleges and universities, with a view to the whole education sector in Wales being ACEs aware and trauma informed.
About the speakers
Professor Mark Bellis is Director of Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Health at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and leads the University’s Public Health Institute (PHI). He and his colleagues have pioneered ACEs research and implementation of ACEs trauma-informed approaches in Wales.
Dr. Jessie BaldwinDr. Jessie Baldwin is a Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL. Her research aims to understand the role of adverse childhood experiences in mental health. She is interested in using causal inference methods to disentangle the effects of childhood adversities from other genetic and environmental risk factors.
Professor Andrea Danese is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist leading the Stress & Development Lab at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London and Maudsley NHS Trust. His research aims to understand how stressful experiences in childhood affect development and later health, and how to best support children who had such traumatic experiences.
Professor Judith Cohen is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and is Medical Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Professor of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine. Since 1983, Dr. Cohen has conducted research on the assessment and treatment of traumatized children. Image via TAPS
Professor David Finkelhor is the Director of the Crimes against Children Research Centre, and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory, Professor of Sociology and University Professor at the University of New Hampshire. He has a long history of research studying the problems of Child Victimisation Child-Maltreatment and Family Violence, including epidemiological research which extended the range of adversities children and young people experience directly in the family, school and community. Image via University of New Hampshire
Dr. Kirsten Asmussen, Head of What Works, Child Development. Kirsten is a developmental psychologist with expertise in the parent/child relationships. She led the Early Intervention Foundation review of ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences (2020) What we know, what we don’t know, and what should happen next.’ and ‘What works to improve the lives of England’s most vulnerable children’: conducted on behalf of the independent social care review team.
Dr. Fiona Turner is a Post-doctoral Researcher and Health Psychologist in the Department of Mental Health and Well Being in the University of Glasgow. She is researching child mental health after early life maltreatment, foster care, neurodiversity, and neurodevelopmental conditions in childhood. Research in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Clinical and Research Centre includes a randomised controlled trial of an infant mental health service for young children in foster care placements.
Gary Kainth is Graduate Research Associate and Social Worker in the University of Glasgow working on the BeST? Trial. He is currently working on a PhD investigating the impact of legal decisions on long-term mental health outcomes for maltreated children and he has a broader interest in how the contexts in which services are delivered influence outcomes. He is a social worker who has worked in Glasgow city to the present with children and families specialising in early childhood and permanence.
Dr. Alan Meehan is a Lecturer in Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. His research the application of a novel prediction modelling approaches to enhance identification of mental health risk in young people. Image via NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Joanne Hopkins is the Programme Director for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Criminal Justice and Violence Prevention at Public Health Wales. A former UK government Senior Civil Servant, Jo worked for the Home Office delivering the 2010 cross UK government strategy ‘Together we can end Violence Against Women and Girls’ and then seven years as the senior lead for Wales and Devolution. Jo was seconded to Public Health Wales in 2018 to take on the role of Director of the ACE Support Hub, transforming systems to develop an ACE aware, trauma informed approach across public services, communities, and society.