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European Project on Childrens Mental Health


In 1997 Mental Health Europe (MHE) set up a European Network on Mental Health Promotion which worked for two years on a project dedicated to the promotion of well-being in children from new born infants up to six years. MHE, with the support of the European Commission, co-ordinated the project with national partner organizations in fifteen countries. At its final meeting in Brussels on 27 November 1999 the Network recommended raising awareness of the importance of childrens mental health and developing policies to promote mental health and well-being of children and families by:

  • * Supporting parenthood, responsible and sensitive parenting and facilitating parent/child relationship development.
  • * Paying particular attention to vulnerable children, such as children with health or psycho-social vulnerabilities (e.g. premature, disabled or chronically ill children, and children with developmental or early behavioral problems).
  • * Paying special attention to children within a vulnerable family environment (e.g. abused or neglected children; children of single or teenage parents; adoptive/foster children; children from conflictive families; and children with mentally ill or addicted parents).
  • * Supporting safe, child-friendly, non-violent and supportive neighbourhood environments that promote and protect mental health in children.
  • * Developing day care and nursery schools focusing on promoting the mental health of children.
  • * Facilitating schools to provide mental health promoting environments, curricula and programmes.
  • * Increasing the recognition of the needs of children within health and community services (e.g. primary health care, general practitioners, hospitals and other health services, libraries, playgrounds, etc.) aiming at preventive and early intervention as well as education and social support for families.
  • * Encouraging workplaces to provide an environment which promotes the mental health of parents and supports family life.
  • * Enhancing and monitoring the child care and protection legal framework to facilitate and ensure mental health promotion and protection for children.

The Network members noted that in order to implement and consolidate these recommendations, it is vital to provide special funding to support the development, implementation and maintenance of effective and cost-effective initiatives to promote mental health and well-being of children and families in different settings, and to support research, training, development of guidelines and knowledge transfer.

The organizations participating in the project were:

Adults for Children, Norway

Afree, France

Aghia Sophia Childrens Hospital, Greece

Asociacion Espanola de Neuropsiquiatria, Spain

Borne-og Ungdomspsykiatrisk, Denmark

Bundeszentralfur gesundheitliche Aufklarung, Germany

Cemea, France

Department of Health – Health Promotion Unit, Ireland

European Centre for Bioethics and Quality of Life, Italy

Federatie diensten geestelijke gezondheidszorg, Belgium

Folk Halso Institutet, Sweden

Forum Luxembourgeois de lenfance et de ladolescence, Luxembourg

Health Education Authority, United Kingdom

Ligue bruxelloise francophone pour la sante mentale, Belgium

Mental Health Europe, Belgium

Stakes, Finland

The Clifford Beers Foundation, United Kingdom

Trimbos Instituut, The Netherlands

University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Contact for information:

Mental Health Europe

7 boulevard Clovis

B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: 32 2 280 04 68

Fax: 32 2 280 16 04

Email: [email protected]

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