Resilience starts with relationships

In community hubs and church halls this summer, hundreds of conversations have started about how individuals, communities and society can transform the lives of both today’s and future generations of children, writes Mary Glasgow, Children 1st's acting Chief-Executive.

The conversations have been prompted by screenings of an American documentary called Resilience which aims to raise public awareness of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. Thanks to the hard work of Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Research Scientist and Trainer from connected baby, and Tina Hendry from Re-Attach Parenting, the film, subtitled The biology of stress and the science of hope is now raising public and professional awareness the length and breadth of Scotland. 

And now a small group of mothers and grandmothers, based in the south of Glasgow, are hosting a screening of the film, which will take the conversation to the heart of Government. Women 1st, a peer mentoring group, supported by Children 1st, are hosting a screening of Resilience today for their local constituency MSP, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

As the film explains the ACE Study looked at the relationship between childhood trauma and the risk for physical and mental illness in adulthood. And the results were a shock for the public health experts involved. People who have experienced six or more adverse childhood experiences have a life expectancy 10 years lower than their peers. ACEs are a stronger prediction of heart disease than any other traditionally identified risk factors. 

But as the subtitle implies, what Resilience conveys above all else is a message of hope. It’s a message that chimes with our approach at Children 1st to prevent, protect and support children and families to recover from trauma. It’s the message that resilience starts with relationships. That we can disrupt the cycle of intergenerational adversity by ensuring that children have a buffer of protection, love and support. And that it’s only by supporting parents and carers as well as their children, that we will truly transform their children’s lives.

Resilience starts with relationships, not only for individual families, but for Scotland as a whole. The connections made through Women 1st's event in the Gorbals today, are part of the much wider movement that is being sparked by many different individuals, community groups and organisations the length and breadth of Scotland. Collectively they can become the roots of the shifts that are needed in culture, policy and practice that can truly transform the lives of children in Scotland.


Visit NHS Health Scotland’s Scottish Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Hub at or contact them: