Think our children are experiencing the worst of the pandemic now? How do we help?

Lisa MillardNews

What research into Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can tell us about the impact on our children in adulthood and how to build resilience.

According to recent research into the effects of the pandemic from both the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stress and anxiety among adults and children has dramatically increased as a result of the pandemic, as have incidents of emotional, sexual and physical abuse. For children growing up in households where there is abuse, neglect and/or increased stress and anxiety, the impact of these Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the absence of supportive factors can last a lifetime and have devastating effects on their lives and relationships. Understanding the research into and the effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is paramount to understanding how to help.

Over the past 8 months, Beacon Family Services has worked tirelessly with schools, agencies, adoptive parents and families experiencing difficulty through virtual group and individual sessions, as well as virtual training and webinars to support families, children, fellow therapists, educators and clinical practitioners during the pandemic. Many families have reported increased stress and anxiety prior to, during and post lockdown. For many, COVID and the added uncertainty about their family’s health, work and finances can be described as an adverse and stressful experience affecting family relationships. Despite the help we are offering and the recent resources we have created to support STRUGGLING families, we realised there is more we can do.

With thanks to funding from The National Lottery, on Wednesday 11th November Beacon Family Services and Beacon Education Services are co-hosting a free, online screening of RESILIENCE: THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS & THE SCIENCE OF HOPE for educators, therapists, clinical practitioners, social workers and our partner agencies. The aim of the screening is to encourage the conversation about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) with other professionals and explore how we can further support and improve the lives of children and adults.

Experiencing trauma, such as abuse or neglect or even the affect of COVID-19, in childhood does not make us stronger or more robust. As the award-winning documentary, Resilience, reveals, toxic stress can trigger the release of hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. This kind of chronic adverse stress when experienced in childhood can also fill our bodies with too much adrenaline and cortisol, meaning we are unable to regulate our hormones and making us feel as though we are constantly STRUGGLING well beyond the period when the trauma has occurred. Developing resilience, through the support of healthy relationships, can help us move from DROWNING, up through the STRUGGLING phase and back to feeling SAFE.  


We are inviting all educators, therapists and support agencies to be part of the conversation around ACEs, particularly as the adverse and long-lasting effects of the pandemic on both children and adults are now coming to light.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the resources above, please register your interest with Jules Ashley-Higgins at

If you would like to attend a future screening of RESILIENCE: THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS & THE SCIENCE OF HOPE, please get in touch with Jules Ashley-Higgins at

If you are an educator working in schools and would like to know more about the help and support we can offer in individual or group therapy, delivering the new PSHE curriculum, supporting SEND students or staff development and training visit our website at or get in touch directly with Jules Ashley-Higgins at

Jules Ashley-Higgins is a former school leader, educator and Director of Beacon Education Services, a part of Beacon Family Services. Beacon Family Services works with families, schools and communities to provide therapy sessions which help build relationships and connections with others. They have continued to offer their services throughout Covid-19, providing valuable connections and acting as a lifeline to struggling families.