Doctors and lawyers come together to find solutions to lessen toxic stress of separation and divorce on children

April 29, 2022

This National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, Doctors of BC and the Law Society of BC, in collaboration with Access to Justice BC, are coming together to support families and find solutions in order to lessen toxic stress on children from high-conflict parental separations and divorce.

Through this new partnership, doctors and lawyers are allying to explore how they can collaborate to promote the well-being of families going through high-conflict parental separation. This focus on family well-being and the impact on children of high-conflict separation and divorce is particularly important given the rise in the divorce rates due to COVID-19.

Upcoming event

As part of this project, Doctors of BC, the Law Society of BC, and Access to Justice BC, are co-hosting two online events. These will take place on May 18 and June 14, from 5 -7:30 pm and are on ‘working together for families’ – a collaborative approach to serving families experiencing toxic stress as a result of separation and divorce. Physicians interested in attending can register here.

How ACEs impact public health

Scientists and doctors have started to better understand how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have long-term impacts on health. Brain science tells us that ACEs, by creating toxic levels of stress, affect the immediate, long-term, and intergenerational mental and physical health of children and youth. Parental separation is one of the 10 ACEs and it’s important for both doctors and lawyers to be aware of this in order to support impacted children by reducing the toxic stress. The brain science also tells us that the impact of ACEs can be mitigated and resilience can be enhanced by providers in healthcare and justice being trauma sensitive in reducing toxic stress; supporting families, and strengthening life skills.

“Social determinants of health are an important part of my platform as President of Doctors of BC this year, and that includes what takes place within the family justice system,” said Dr Ramneek Dosanjh, President of Doctors of BC. “I’m delighted that doctors and lawyers are working together on this important issue and raising awareness about ACEs, because lawyers’ clients are also doctors’ patients and vice versa. Both groups care deeply about the well-being of the families we support.”

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Accreditation/Certification statement

The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and has been approved by UBC CPD for up to 11.0 MOC Section 1 Group Learning credits. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 11.0 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity.
CFPC Session ID: 197354-001
This program was co-developed between Shared Care Committee, The Law Society of BC and Access to Justice BC and was planned to achieve scientific integrity, objectivity and balance.