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Health council research on child trauma to be complete by June

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The public is being encouraged to participate in a survey that could improve care for patients in Bermuda's health system.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences research looks at the link between adverse childhood experiences and the risk of disease later in life.

It is hoped that it will lead to better care for chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health disorders, cancer and asthma.

It is being carried out by the Bermuda Health Council in partnership with Family Centre.

Tara Hines, the programme manager of data analytics and outcomes research at the health council, said it is hoped 5,000 people will take part.

She said, so far, more than 300 people have participated in the research, which started last month and continues until June.

Ms Hines added: “We are continuing to increase efforts to have respondents submit their questionnaires, by reaching out to organisations and taking advantage of multiple media outlets, including radio and social media.”

“The nature of this type of information is deeply personal and specific to its respondents and can only benefit from more people being involved.

“Because this is a countrywide questionnaire, we hope that Bermuda can see this as a community opportunity to be involved and improve our health together.”

People of all ages are welcome to participate, particularly adults who lived in Bermuda during any portion of their childhood.

Ace research assesses different types of adverse childhood experiences including physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, racism, bullying, poverty as well as family member-related substance abuse, domestic violence, imprisonment, mental illness, negative facets of divorce and death or abandonment.

Stephanie Guthman of Family Centre said this research is important for the charity which has been at the forefront of advocating for the issues facing children and families.

Dr Guthman said: “The concept of unresolved trauma, also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences, and its consequences has continued to evolve and become increasingly apparent in our communities for more than twenty years.”

“The time is now ripe for Family Centre to continue this momentum and, along with the Bermuda Health Council, we aim to shed light on what Aceand the effects of Ace look like in our community.”

She added: “A major strength of the current study is the opportunity to explore the impact of Ace in a unique and insular population and to do so in a manner that is comprehensive and informative.”

Dr Guthman said people have been responding to the survey and are willing to participate.

She added: “The issue of Adverse Childhood Experiences has been a longstanding issue facing our Bermuda community. People in our community are eager to hear whether the data reveals similar results to what the US Ace study revealed.”

Family Centre has approached the Inter-Agency Committee for Children and Families, non-profit organisations, and government agencies, asking individuals to send the survey link to members of their network.

The Ace survey link is on Family Centre's website, https://www.tfc.bm/acessurvey. It can also be found on Twitter and Facebook

Important research: Dr Stephanie Guthman - Director of Specialised Training and Assessment at The Family Centre
Tara Hines (Photograph supplied)

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Published April 05, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated April 05, 2019 at 2:55 pm)

Health council research on child trauma to be complete by June

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