Global child mental health conferences: Just like London buses, more frequent and with similar trajectories

A few years ago you couldn’t get any. Crucially, this reflected the lack of readiness to incorporate child mental health in global humanitarian, welfare or health initiatives.

Last week, the RSM conference gave a good overview of the status of evidence and emerging models. This week, the Wilton Park dialogue complemented with policy and fieldwork case studies.

The conclusions were convergent – a range of innovative interventions; and consensus that child, family and community interventions need to be linked. The most encouraging pattern was the acceptance and expansion of child mental health and psychosocial provision across large regions. Models on what these should involve are still missing but these will come.


Evidence on resilience factors to help refugee families: WACIT research and fun events are not that far apart

Syrian refugee children schoolThere is usually a frustrating delay before seeing research findings in print. Nevertheless, these were the same communities that contributed to Seyda Eruyar’s research, as well as to previous WACIT visits and resilience events in Istanbul. Who says that one can not have fun and give serious messages at the same time?

Crucially, Seyda’s findings have tangible implications for interventions and services. Here is some evidence on what practitioners increasingly face, i.e. that they should be targeting BOTH past trauma (which was found to lead, as well established, to children and parent’s posttraumatic stress); and current adversities that, through parenting difficulties, were associated withSyrian refugee children school2 behavioural problems.




Global child mental health is getting attention and contributing evidence

How nice to be back at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health journal, almost a decade after the six-year editorial adventure. What was more important was to experience the advances in the field in publishing a Global Child Mental Health Special Issue and attracting high quality publications, whereas in the past we had lengthy discussions even on scarce individual contributions. A big thanks to ACAMH for making it happen and for broadening the evidence agenda!

WACIT Brazil: Following children’s trauma clues and the Chapecoense football team tragedy

Only a couple of hours earlier at the workshop I had gone through a key slide on following children’s clues to share trauma in their own time. Yet it took me some time to work out that I missed them when I visited a school in Rio de Janeiro.

We talked football – as you do in Brazil – then the children asked a few questions on my flight. I took it as usual curiosity – although I had to stress that I had not come on a private jet. Then one boy asked me if it was safer that the small plane that had crashed in Colombia wiping out the whole Chapecoense Brazilian football team. Another boy asked me if I supported them – everyone should support Chapecoense now. What was my favourite colour? Unknowingly (and maybe subconsciously), I pointed at my dark green WACIT t-shirt, the same colours as Chapecoense.

Only much later did I realise that this day 30th November was only two after the actual anniversary of that fateful accident in Colombia.

WACIT Brazil: On the third day of Rio, all three educational levels in one go

It is so rare to see the three levels of policy, practice and children in one day, yet it happened in Rio de Janeiro! The systematic approach of an educational municipality interprofessional committee with operational networks in each of the 11 districts was impressive.

But I wanted to follow-up the workshop with a school visit and see some of the teachers of the earlier workshops in action. They did not disappoint, at a school applying mental health literacy with ASEC, Juliana and Paola for some time. The only (nice) problem is that I have been invited to schools across the remaining 10 districts – next time and Obrigado!