WPA Presidential Global Programme on Child Mental Health

The programme is upported by an unrestricted educational grant from the Lilly Foundation and by institutions and individuals participating in the programme.

| Objectives | Products/Outputs | Members |

A Global Problem Has Gone Unrecognised


Half of the world’s population are children and adolescents. Nearly 20% of them suffer
from some kind of mental or neurological disorder. Mental retardation adds further to the
heavy burden that these disorders cause to the sufferers, their families and their communities.
An even larger number of children are at high risk of mental disorder. They are victims
of violence and abuse, displaced from their homes, exploited and live in incomplete or
disturbed families.


Only a small proportion of children needing health and mental health care receive them.
All-too-often, services are not based on the best evidence for treatment effectiveness. It is
even rarer to see communities, societies or countries adopt programmes preventing mental
illness in children and adolescents. The overall situation is made worse by the fact that
policy and health decision-makers, health professionals and the general public are not
aware of the magnitude and severity of mental health problems in children and adolescents.
The WPA Presidential Global Programme on Child Mental Health addresses fundamental
concerns regarding the mental health of children. It focuses on:

  • Increasing awareness of the problems;
  • Increasing access to appropriate treatment of mental disorders;
  • Early prevention of mental health problems.

The need for information among all sectors of society is urgent!

Objectives of the Global Programme


The objectives of the Presidential WPA Global Child Mental Health Programme are:

  1. To increase the awareness of health decision-makers, health professionals and the
    general public about the magnitude and severity of problems related to mental disorders
    in childhood and adolescence and about possibilities for their resolution.
  2. To promote the application of primary prevention interventions for mental disorders in
    childhood and adolescence that will contribute to the healthy mental development of
    children and adolescents.
  3. To offer support to the development of services for children and adolescents with
    mental disorders and to facilitate the use of effective methods of treatment.

The Products of the Programme


The programme will yield outputs that will be demonstrably useful to the development
of child and adolescent mental health programmes. These outputs will include:

  1. The publication of critical reviews of the literature on child and adolescent mental
    health and of information about relevant programmes in different countries.
  2. A functional network of individuals and institutions committed to the achievement
    of the objectives of the programme.
  3. Manuals and guidelines concerned with the prevention, early recognition, detection
    and treatment of mental disorders in childhood for health professionals and others
    concerned with the care of children, e.g. parents and surrogate caregivers, teachers,
    religious leaders, social welfare workers, etc….
  4. Internationally accepted guidelines for activities promoting child and
    adolescent mental health.
  5. A database containing information about the current epidemiological situation
    and about policies and programmes relevant to the promotion of child mental health
    in different parts of the world.

Members of the Global Programme on Child Mental Health

Steering Committee
Chairperson - Ahmed Okasha (Egypt)
Vice Chairperson - Norman Sartorius (Switzerland)
Scientific Director - Helmut Remschmidt (Germany)
Scientific Vice Director - Sam Tyano (Israel)
Secretary - Tarek Okasha (Egypt)
Peter Jensen (USA)
Barry Nurcombe (Australia)
John Heiligenstein (USA)
WHO Representative
Myron Belfer (Geneva)

Task Force on Awareness
Chaired by Prof. Sam Tyano
Myron Belfer (Switzerland)
Michael Hong (Korea)
Danuta Wasserman (Sweden)
Christina W. Hoven (USA)
DuYA Song (China)
Therese Ange Agoussou (WHO/AFRO)

Task Force on Primary Prevention
Chaired by Prof. Helmut Remschmidt
Barry Nurcombe (Australia)
Luis Augusto Rohde (Brazil)
Tatjana Dmitrieva (Russia)
Per-Anders Rydelius (Sweden)
Amira Seif El-Din (Egypt)
Martine Flament (Canada)
Ernesto Caffo (Italy)
John Cox (UK)

Task Force on Service Development and Management
Chaired by Prof. P. Jensen
S. F. Hung (China)
John Fayyad (Lebanon)
Jose Bauermeister (Puerto Rico)
Richard Harrington, deceased (UK)
Kelly Kelleher (USA)
Kimberly Hoagwood (USA)
Cheryl So (China)




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