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01/06/2007 - Submitted by: Argyro Kazaki

A new  project, funded by  EU Public Health program – “ Child and adolescent mental health in enlarged EU -  development of effective policies  and practices” (CAMHEE)  has started from January 2007.

The project aims to provide a set of recommendations and guidelines for the effective child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) policies and practices in European Union, with the special emphasis on new EU countries and in the light of Declaration and Action Plan endorsed by WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health. To achieve this, the project aims to develop four main objectives:

  1. To create the network of partners within European Union for the adopting and implementing modern effective public health approaches in the new and applicant EU countries.
  2. To develop guidelines and recommendations for the country national and municipal (regional) policies in participating countries in the field of CAMH based on the evidence obtained through the independent analysis of country situations, including the analysis of context, resources, processes and outcomes.
  3. To initiate and support activities in new and applicant member states in the field of CAMH, with special focus on implementation of effective and evidence-based policies and practices based on involvement and participations of children , families and communities.
  4. On the basis of information, share experience by networking and knowledge received by joint activities of all the project partners, to advise the European Union and member states on mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention among children and adolescents, with special focus on management of changes needed in new member states to move from inherited patterns of institutionalization and medicalization to modern public health approaches based on involvement of children, youth, parents and communities.

The idea to apply with this project proposal to EU Public Health program is a very good example of positive effects of EU enlargement and European mental health agenda. Immediately after the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health  “Facing the Challenges, Building Solutions”, a decision was made by all main stakeholders and interest groups in the field of CAMH in Lithuania, that with support of Lithuanian Ministry of Health, a group of interested partners, representing governmental agencies, universities, NGOs and professional groups, will use this unique momentum and invite other EU and applicant countries to join their efforts in attempts to contribute to better mental health of children and adolescents in Europe, with special emphasis on the process of enlargement and CAMH situation in the new EU countries. Many partners in EU and applicant countries reacted with enthusiasm and agreed to join this initiative. It is important to mention that self- confidence of Lithuanian network of partners greatly increased after commitment of Ministry of Health of Lithuania to contribute with co-financing of the project. Later this commitment was shared by Vilnius municipality. It means emerging understanding of national and municipal authorities of their responsibility to recognise new public health priorities, such as child mental health, and to facilitate modern public health approaches in this field.

Lithuania is a new EU member state which has made remarkable improvements in economic development and establishment of democracy and rule of law during 15 years of changes. However, in the field of CAMH many indicators (like prevalence of suicides, bullying, or rates of children living in state institutions) are among the highest in Europe. There is an increasing awareness of the fact that child mental health has become a public health priority and that EU accession has to be used for effective decisions and changes in this field. The project aims to develop and implement new approaches in policies and practices to give a chance for new (like Lithuania) and applicant EU countries to implement in a systematic and evidence based way modern public health approaches in the field of CAMH, based on principles of health promotion, social inclusion, tolerance for vulnerable groups, deinstitutionalisation, support for protective factors, resilience, autonomy and civic participation. Only with the financial support for joint European activities and exchange of experience and knowledge between “new” and “old” member states, basic changes will take place in child mental health systems leading to its liberation from political and professional isolation and integration in general public health, social and education policies and practices.

With the help of modern methods of systems’ analysis developed in EU, obstacles and opportunities for implementation of modern policies and practices in the field of CAMH could be identified. After having made scientifically based “diagnosis” of the CAMH systems in participating countries, by joint activities in different work packages the recommendations for effective policies and practices for the CAMH systems could be developed. Work in the networks created by partners within concrete work packages and within the project in general will facilitate better quality of CAMH policies and practices in all EU.

Besides main theme of the project – analysis of   child mental health policies  in EU countries,  three specific topics were selected for more in-depth  analysis:

  1. Prevention of destructive and self-destructive patterns of behaviour in school settings
  2. Development of modern approaches in parent training, with special emphasis on parents who have mental disorders or represent other risk groups
  3. Development of  effective community based activities in the field of CAMH, as alternatives to the tradition of institutionalisation and social exclusion, ant to provide tools  for economic evaluation of this process.

It is expected that  partners fro both “old” and “new”  EU countries will form effective networks in  these important field of CAMH policies and practices and will develop   recommendations  which will be useful for  politicians, professionals, parents and children  in  European Union.

CAMHEE project involves 35 associate partners from  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany,  Greece, Hungary,  Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom. We are very happy that Mental Health Europe agreed to join CAMHEE as  an associate partner, and we hope that MHE will help us  with their huge experience in the field of mental health promotion in Europe. Soon we will have a website of CAMHEE, and  everybody who is interested in issues of child mental health in EU, will  be invited to share their views, concerns and suggestions.

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Project Details

Start Year:
Funding Authority:
DG Health and Consumer Protection
Participating Countries:
Norway | Bulgaria | Hungary | United Kingdom | Germany | Poland | Belgium | Estonia | Austria | Finland | Greece | Slovenia | Spain | Lithuania | Romania | Latvia

Coordinator Details

State Mental Health Centre (Valstybinis psichikos sveikatos centras)
Parko Street 15
Postal Code:
Contact Person:

Target Group(s)

Mental health policy makers