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Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health in South Africa

A DfE-GCRF project led by Dr Gavin Davidson from School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

What is the project about?

The Department of Health in South Africa has identified mental health as a priority, highlighting a number of key challenges. This workshop, entitled “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health in South Africa” was designed to respond to these challenges, build on the work of the multi-disciplinary Adverse Childhood Experiences research group and the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation at Queen’s and develop/enhance relationships with researchers and practitioners in South Africa.


What were the project outcomes? 

The workshop led to the development of funding applications based on the topics that were discussed and developed during the workshop. The first focuses on the need for a prevalence study of the mental health of children and young people in both South Africa and Northern Ireland. The Health and Social Care Board is currently considering this proposal for Northern Ireland and, if that proceeds, then the plan is to apply for funding for the South African part of the study. The second main area is to explore how psychological interventions can be provided on a large scale through existing services in South Africa. A special journal issue is also planned to develop the partnership further.   


ODA - Direct benefit?  

The focus on mental health was confirmed as an important priority by the South African participants. The benefits of better understanding and addressing mental health problems, especially early in life, are well established. The team has developed plans for future research collaboration on a range of issues related to the mental health of children and young people. These research activities will also develop the capacity of both the N. Irish and South African participants’ ability to contribute to studies on mental health issues. There are plans being developed for a joint seminar series with our partners in South Africa to further develop the partnership.