This survey of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) across Wales, connects this to sources of resilience and mental health outcomes. Half of adults involved reported at least one ACE, and 1 in 3 adults reported treatment for mental illness, with those who suffered ACE’s shown to be at an increased risk across the life course.
Key to this was that these individuals had fewer resilience resources which help to protect against mental illness. High childhood resilience can almost half the experiences of mental illness as well as thoughts of self harm and suicide. A trusted relationship with an adult can also help decrease the likelihood of mental illness during childhood.
Participation is sport is shown to be conducive to good mental health, with 9% less reporting self harm and suicidal thoughts in those with 4 or more ACE’s who participated in sports clubs or teams. This is also true for adults, as they benefit from the feeling of community connectedness. Those with ACE’s are less likely to perceive public services as supportive so alternative measures may be more beneficial. Physical and developmental activities need to be provided and encouraged to support children’s lifelong mental health. In this way participation in sport is directly linked to mental health, not only for health benefits but also in developing resilience by providing community support.
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that ACEs can be overcome if children are supported effectively. Often, one significant adult in the a child’s life can trigger the resilience needed to shield them from the physiological damage that would otherwise take place.
Evolve Health Mentors also include physical activity within their repertoire to improve children’s mental health and protect them from toxic stress and trauma that they often experience.”
-John Bishop, Managing Director at Evolve
To read the full report, click here.