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Forum to address legacy of childhood trauma

  • Stephanie Guthman (File photograph)

An international panel of speakers is to join a two-day conference next month on the legacy of childhood trauma.

The forum, on October 11 and 12, is being held by Family Centre in tandem with the Bermuda Health Council and the Interagency Committee for Children and Families.

The conference, entitled “Adverse Childhood Experiences, Awareness and A Call To Action”, is aimed at educating the public on the lingering effects of chronic stress in childhood.

Stephanie Guthman from Family Centre said the charity had brought “local and international experts from multiple disciplines such as education, early childhood, health, and mental health”

Dr Guthman said eight speakers from abroad will join local presenters to give “cutting edge information” on adverse childhood experiences, at the conference in Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

The research shared is “intended to benefit the whole child, and to challenge adults to design needed solutions in Bermuda”, Dr Guthman added.

“Our goal is to jointly explore ways to reduce the impact of trauma on the health of children.

“The survey information will ultimately provide local data which allow programs and policy decisions affecting Bermuda’s children to be tailor made.”

Dr Guthman said Family Centre believed the island’s population was “struggling significantly from untreated trauma and its subsequent effects”.

According to the charity, adverse childhood experiences are the top issue facing children in the United States.

Family Centre is exploring if “this also true for Bermuda”, Dr Guthman said.

The charity is conducting a survey of adverse childhood experiences in partnership with the Bermuda Health Council, and will share its preliminary findings at the conference.

Dr Guthman added: “Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on the likelihood of the perpetuation of the same negative behaviours, future violence victimisation, loss of opportunities for personal success, and lifelong health issues.

“Thus, early childhood experiences are an important public health issue. More information, or registration tickets can be obtained by calling 232-1116. The cost for the 2-day conference is $300, one day, only, $200. Early registration ends on September 30.”