Mental disorders are one of the largest contributors to the burden of disease globally, this holds also for children and adolescents, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The prevalence and severity of these disorders are influenced by social determinants, including exposure to adversity. When occurring early in life, these latter events are referred to as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
In this editorial, we provide an overview of the literature on the role of ACEs as social determinants of mental health through the lenses of global mental health. While the relation between ACEs and mental health has been extensively explored, most research was centred in higher income contexts. We argue that findings from the realm of global mental health should be integrated into that of ACEs, e.g. through preventative and responsive psychosocial interventions for children, adolescents and their caregivers. The field of global mental health should also undertake active efforts to better address ACEs in its initiatives, all with the goal of reducing the burden of mental disorders among children and adolescents globally.