Pledge to tackle impact of ‘adverse childhood experiences’ on people in Hartlepool

Coun Brenda Harrison.
Coun Brenda Harrison.

More needs to be done for organisations to work together to combat stress associated with negative childhood experiences, authorities have said.

Hartlepool’s Children’s Strategic Partnership group met to discuss the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) on people and how to support them.

Officials at the meeting.

Officials at the meeting.

The partnership, which includes figures from the council, public health, police, clinical commissioning groups and more, said it will feedback responses to council bosses later this year in a bid to take action.

The partnership was inspired by a film shown to them at the meeting at Hartlepool College of Further Education titled Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.

The KPJR film delves into the science of ACEs and a new movement to treat and prevent toxic stress.

It states how research found childhood traumas were associated with health and social problems in later life.

The meeting was held at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

The meeting was held at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

A presentation was also given supporting its work by Dr Joanne Buntin, education psychologist at Hartlepool Psychology Team, and said it was important to educate and help people in the area.

Dr Buntin said: “Is this something the general population need to know about? I would argue yes.

“Hope is a big one, it is the reason why we get up on a morning and go to work, we believe it can change.

“It’s about going away from the idea of a rugged individual, it’s not about I, it is about we.

“We want a public conversation about this, conversations with parents acknowledging that for the better of the community.”

While the film focused on the study in the USA, group members said similar studies show it is an issue in Scotland, Wales and across Britain.

Dr Buntin said there are three different ideas which need to be implemented to help people.

These are to support responsive relationships, strengthen core life skills and reduce sources of stress.

She also said it is important to change the question in Hartlepool from being ‘what is wrong’ to ‘what has happened’.

Danielle Swainston, assistant director of children’s and families’ services on the council, said it is important everyone works together to help benefit the area.

She said: “What is going to make a difference is bringing all our expertise together.

“The reason we are all here is to try and effect change across the whole system.”

Chair of the meeting Coun Brenda Harrison said: “There is a big difference between teaching subjects and teaching children.

“This has all been very eye-opening.”

Dave Pickard, chair of the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board, said: “There needs to be resources to do it.”

Leaders from the group will also be attending the national ACE conference in Glasgow on September 26.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service