First Quarter 2002 Newsletter

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Representatives from selected medical schools and hospitals consulted with WHO staff on �Caring for Children and Adolescents with Mental Disorders: Setting WHO Directions� in Geneva on 31 January-1 February 2002. The objective was to provide input for WHO about broad issues to be addressed in a new initiative on care for young people. As WHO had already noted on the first page of the first chapter in the 2001 World Health Report: �Over 90% of countries have no mental health policy that includes children and adolescents.�

WFMH President Elect Patt Franciosi attended the meeting which discussed the general lack of attention to services for children, and the need to develop government mental health policies which include them. One of the main recommendations from the consultants was that WHO should produce a policy report and atlas of statistical information similar to those produced last year on mental health, but focused entirely on children and adolescents.

Dr. Franciosi commented that it was significant that WHO is giving special attention to the mental health needs of this neglected group. �It is appalling that so little has been done by governments in this area, and that so few countries include children and young people in their mental health planning. In fact, only 34 countries have been identified as having such policies at this time, and only 14 countries meet the highest criteria for a clearly articulated policy covering children and adolescents. There is a role for WFMH in this area to work in cooperation with WHO.�

Dr. Franciosi has a special interest in the subject as the Chair of World Mental Health Day, which has as its theme for 2002 the effects of trauma and violence on children.� The goal of this campaign is to draw attention to extreme circumstances which affect children in many parts of the world, and the need to develop programs to provide mental health care. A recent WHO document noted: �Children and adolescents live in a world that is increasingly complex�.New data are revealing that mental health problems and violence are more prevalent than previously thought. For example, WHO estimates that 10% to 20% of all children have one or more mental or behavioral problems. Children�s health is also directly and indirectly affected by conflicts, wars and migration.� [WHO Executive Board, Provisional agenda item 3.7, (EB109/10) 12 December 2001.]

The World Mental Health Day planning kit currently in preparation by WFMH will include an overview of the topic, more detailed discussion of selected issues (war and refugees; domestic and community violence; violence in the media), and a section on the pervasiveness of violence in society. A number of successful interventions and programs will also be described.

Patt Franciosi encourages those who would like to support the expansion of the WMHDay program to contact the Secretariat. The planning kit will be mailed to WMHDay event organizers in mid-May, and will be available on the WFMH web site at www.wfmh.org. Material will be available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

At the WHO meeting in Geneva on mental health care for children and adolescents (left to right):  Helmut Remschmidt, President, International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP); Patt Franciosi, President Elect, WFMH;  Jose Manoel Bertolote and Myron Belfer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, WHO.
At the WHO meeting in Geneva on mental health care for children and
adolescents (left to right): Helmut Remschmidt, President,
International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and
Allied Professions (IACAPAP); Patt Franciosi, President Elect, WFMH;
Jose Manoel Bertolote and Myron Belfer, Department of Mental Health
and Substance Dependence, WHO.


First Quarter 2002 Newsletter



Author
Medical Reviewer
Sources