“It’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what’s happened to you.”
In November 2018 we purchased the rights to share screenings of the award-winning documentary ‘Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope’. This powerful documentary delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress and the impact these can have on health.
Since then, we have shared 23 facilitated screenings on a pro bono basis with 625 frontline practitioners to date including health professionals, teachers, community support workers, social care and social work teams, early years, infant mental health professionals and others.
Our goal is to raise frontline practitioners’ awareness of ACES and how supportive relationships help to buffer the negative impact of adversity.
A unique aspect of our Resilience screenings is that we begin with a presentation to contextualise the content of the documentary. We follow with the screening itself and then facilitate a discussion a small group, peer discussion to provide an opportunity for people to reflect on what they have seen and absorb the impact of the documentary on them.
Why frontline practitioners?
We believe that frontline practitioners hold huge potential to make a difference in people’s lives by broadening and deepening their awareness of human experience and adversity – for themselves and others – and use that in the work to take a more compassionate approach, wondering ‘what has happened’ to someone rather than ‘what’s wrong’ with them.
By sharing the documentary with frontline practitioners, we are reaching the people who are already working with individuals, children and families across the life cycle in communities throughout Ireland; practitioners who are already well-placed in communities to use the knowledge and awareness of the impact of ACES to help their client groups to make sense of their experiences of adversity, and in the longer term, help break intergenerational cycles of adversity.
In an evaluation of our 2021 screenings to date, 74% stated that the screening had significantly raised their awareness of the potential impact of ACEs on children and families. 71% of attendees reported that the documentary had helped them to consider how they might respond to children and families.
We have conducted a thematic analysis on the responses of the discussion groups and launched the findings at an event in November 2021 to share the knowledge gained from the documentary and to reaffirm why relationships matter in frontline practice.