Reflection: ‘Resilience’ Film and ACE workshop – looking at young people and trauma in Moray, 18th September 2018

Heidi Reflection

“All of us are greater than our ACE score”, quote from Resilience film

“Resilience; The Biology of Stress and Science of Hope” is an American produced film that highlights and explores the development of understanding around Adverse Childhood Experiences, commonly known as ACE.  The film was brought to Moray earlier this Septemeber as a way to explore what is being done to prevent and to help those with experience of trauma or ACE in their lives. It gathered a range of people in roles that support children and young people to watch the film together and then discuss what it means locally.

“Everything is about relationships”, quote from Resilience film

The event started with an overview from a Scottish perspective by Pauline Beirne from Scottish Government. She encouraged us to take the film and be inspired but to remember that using a tally or checklist approach to ACE is not how we want to work in Scotland, and rather take a person-centred approach where we use more of a ‘Trauma Informed’ approach. One key aim of this work is to interrupt the cycle of those parents who experience trauma and then, without judement, we can support to create different experiences for their children. It was noted that refering and treatment does not interrupt this cycle, that we need something much greater that addresses the issues around poverty and deprivation longterm.

To read more about ACE and trauma-informed approaches some good links are:

“Not enough people hear and use loving language”, quote from Resilience film

The film had some startling facts such as the original inspiration behind the creation of ACE work was based on research that showed there was a functional change in the brain due to trauma, that people end up with an exaggerated fear response and live in ‘toxic’ stress.

“Health begins with hope”, quote from Resilience film

A number of our Champions were involved in the day from their work roles and they have shared some reflections both about the content of the film and the impact of the day on their wellbeing.

“I think the event stirred something exciting and possible in some of the family practitioners – something I recognise from our work in adult mental health recovery around the recognition of CHIME and potential of use of peer experiences (such as in the film the worker who had experienced her own ACE around abuse and used this effectively to create mutuality).”
“I think the film itself is powerful. For me, we need to frame ACE’s in a way that continues to promote the individuals strengths, skills, assets and interests. Otherwise I worry that we take a deficit approach and people end up defining themselves or being defined by their ACE’s.”
“I sat next to the Penumbra Wellness Centre team and it felt we had a united peer-values front at our table, to which the others at the table were very interested in – there was great interest in non-referral walk-in support for a young person to self-select the support they needed. Real potential there for more partnership work with a range of folk.”
“I was very moved after watching the film yesterday – partly in overwhelm at the thought of how tricky it seems to be to navigate childhood without one of these experiences, as mine too was cluttered with ACE’s, which of course propelled me on this journey to support parents as much as possible! and then moved to think about how to best work to safeguard children and childhood through this terrain.”
“The idea of good “parent buffering” that was mentioned in the film stayed with me, and linked in to the initial talk – with the circles around the child, and how services are finally taking seriously that safeguarding and supporting the adults that are closest to, and mean the most to the child, is the first port of call in allowing children a safe, happy and fun journey through childhood.”
Watch the film by clicking the image below:


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