Professor Mark Bellis is the Director of Policy, Research and Development for Public Health Wales and Chairs the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University. Mark holds an honorary Chair in Public Health at Bangor University and honorary Professorships in the Colleges of Medicine at Cardiff and Swansea Universities. Mark has undertaken substantive work in the field of violence prevention, alcohol, drugs and sexual health. He has published over 150 academic papers and more than 200 applied public health reports. He regularly works on the development on public health policy at local, national and international levels; working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, WHO and other UN organisations. Professor Bellis is the alcohol lead for the UK Faculty of Public Health, an expert advisor to the Home Office and an academic advisor to Public Health England. Mark is also the UK Focal Point to the WHO for Violence and Injury Prevention and a member of the WHO global expert advisory panel on violence prevention.
A Summary of the Health Harms of Drugs
Commissioned by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and the Department of Health, this report provides a summary for healthcare professionals of the harms to health arising from licit and illicit substance use.
Protecting people Promoting health: A public health approach to violence prevention for England
This document outlines the extent (chapter 2) and impact (chapter 3) of violence nationally, covering violence in the general population as well as specific violence types that can impact dramatically on different sectors of society: child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence and elder abuse. It also provides information on how to access local intelligence on violence and related harms (chapter 2). The document describes some of the key risk and protective factors for violence (chapter 4) and collects together details of interventions and policy measures that have been effective in preventing violence (chapter 5), giving examples of where these are already being employed in England. It also outlines the policy frameworks already in place to support violence prevention (chapter 6).
Weather Forecasting as a Public Health Tool
This report takes a look at the effects that weather can have on peoples health, and how health and other agencies can make more use of weather forecasting data in planning health services, timing campaigns and tackling wider issues such as anti-social behaviour.
Adverse childhood experiences: retrospective study to determine their impact on adult health behaviours and health outcomes in a UK population
Journal of Public Health, 1-11, 2013, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdt038.
Abstract: Background: Studies suggest strong links between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and poor adult health and social outcomes. However, the use of such studies in non-US populations is relatively scarce. Methods: Retrospective cross-sectional survey of 1500 residents and 67 substance users aged 18–70 years in a relatively deprived and ethnically diverse UK population. Results: Increasing ACEs were strongly related to adverse behavioural, health and social outcomes. Compared with those with 0 ACEs, individuals with 4þ ACEs had adjusted odds ratios of the following: 3.96 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.74–5.73] for smoking; 3.72 (95% CI: 2.37–5.85) for heavy drinking; 8.83 (95% CI: 4.42–17.62) for incarceration and 3.02 (95% CI: 1.38–6.62) for morbid obesity. They also had greater risk of poor educational and employment outcomes; low mental wellbeing and life satisfaction; recent violence involvement; recent inpatient hospital care and chronic health conditions. Higher ACEs were also associated with having caused/been unintentionally pregnant aged 18 years and having been born to a mother aged 20 years. Conclusions: ACEs contribute to poor life-course health and social outcomes in a UK population. That ACEs are linked to involvement in violence, early unplanned pregnancy, incarceration, and unemployment suggests a cyclic effect where those with higher ACE counts have higher risks of exposing their own children to ACEs.
Dying to be famous: variation in rock and pop star mortality and its association with adverse childhood experiences
BMJ Open, 2, e002089, 2012.
Abstract: Objectives: Rock and pop fame is associated with risk taking, substance use and premature mortality. We examine relationships between fame and premature mortality and test how such relationships vary with type of performer (eg, solo or band member) and nationality and whether cause of death is linked with prefame (adverse childhood) experiences. Design: A retrospective cohort analysis based on biographical data. An actuarial methodology compares postfame mortality to matched general populations. Cox survival and logistic regression techniques examine risk and protective factors for survival and links between adverse childhood experiences and cause of death, respectively. Setting: North America and Europe. Participants: 1489 rock and pop stars reaching fame between 1956 and 2006. Outcomes: Stars’ postfame mortality relative to age-, sex- and ethnicity-matched populations (USA and UK); variations in survival with performer type, and in cause of mortality with exposure to adverse childhood experiences. Results: Rock/pop star mortality increases relative to the general population with time since fame. Increases are greater in North American stars and those with solo careers. Relative mortality begins to recover 25 years after fame in European but not North American stars. Those reaching fame from 1980 onwards have better survival rates. For deceased stars, cause of death was more likely to be substance use or risk-related in those with more adverse childhood experiences. Conclusions: Relationships between fame and mortality vary with performers’ characteristics. Adverse experiences in early life may leave some predisposed to health-damaging behaviours, with fame and extreme wealth providing greater opportunities to engage in risk-taking. Millions of youths wish to emulate their icons. It is important they recognise that substance use and risk-taking may be rooted in childhood adversity rather than seeing them as symbols of success.
Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Lancet, 380, 899-907, 2012.
Abstract: Background: Globally, at least 93 million children have moderate or severe disability. Children with disabilities are thought to have a substantially greater risk of being victims of violence than are their non-disabled peers. Establishment of reliable estimates of the scale of the problem is an essential first step in the development of effective prevention programmes. We therefore undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesise evidence for the prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities. Methods: For this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched 12 electronic databases to identify cross-sectional, case-control, or cohort studies reported between Jan 1, 1990, and Aug 17, 2010, with estimates of prevalence of violence against children (aged ≤18 years) with disabilities or their risk of being victims of violence compared with children without disabilities. Findings: 17 studies were selected from 10 663 references. Reports of 16 studies provided data suitable for meta-analysis of prevalence and 11 for risk. Pooled prevalence estimates were 26·7% (95% CI 13·8—42·1) for combined violence measures, 20·4% (13·4—28·5) for physical violence, and 13·7% (9·2—18·9) for sexual violence. Odds ratios for pooled risk estimates were 3·68 (2·56—5·29) for combined violence measures, 3·56 (2·80—4·52) for physical violence, and 2·88 (2·24—3·69) for sexual violence. Huge heterogeneity was identified across most estimates (I2>75%). Variations were not consistently explained with meta-regression analysis of the characteristics of the studies. Interpretation: The results of this systematic review confirm that children with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than are their peers who are not disabled. However, the continued scarcity of robust evidence, due to a lack of well designed research studies, poor standards of measurement of disability and violence, and insufficient assessment of whether violence precedes the development of disability, leaves gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed. Funding: WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability.