skip to content

Adolescent mental health resilience after childhood adversity

Wednesday 20 March: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Mill Lane Lecture Rooms , 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RW

Adolescence is a sensitive time characterized by marked cognitive, hormonal and neurodevelopmental changes as well as a rapid rise in the prevalence of mental health disorders. Mental health disorders that first occur in adolescence are more severe and more likely to recur in later life. Importantly, approximately 45% of all adolescent mental health problems are attributable to childhood adversity such as parental psychopathology, peer victimization, financial difficulties, or abuse and neglect. Up to 50% of children and adolescents growing up worldwide experiences such traumatic and stressful events in early life. Therefore, childhood trauma was recently suggested to be ‘Psychiatry’s greatest public health challenge’. Fortunately, not all adolescents who have experienced childhood adversity develop psychopathology. These ‘resilient’ adolescents may have the resources and skills to cope with, or recover from the effects of early life adversity. In this talk I will discuss social, cognitive, behavioural and neurobiological mechanisms that may aid resilient functioning in adolescents with a history of childhood adversity.

Anne-Laura van Harmelen is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow in the department of Psychiatry, and fellow of Lucy Cavendish College University of Cambridge. She directs the Risk & Resilience Group that aims to better understand why some adolescents develop mental health disorders, whilst others do not, after experiencing adverse events in early life. Her work is funded by the Royal Society, and MQ, and in November 2018 van Harmelen was named an emerging leaders in adolescent mental health research by the Medical Research Foundation.

Booking Information

Telephone number:
01223 766766

Booking required


Full access

Additional Information

Age: 11+, Talk, Arrive on time, Free