"Promoting the Mental Health and wellbeing of Children and Adolescents"


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In January 19 and 20 at the al-Farabi KazNU was held the 1st International Conference "Promoting the Mental Health and wellbeing of Children and Adolescents".

This conference was organized by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Public Foundation Bilim Foundation, the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Mental Health and al-Farabi KazNU (the Department of Health Policy and Organization of the Medical Faculty) and with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Also within the framework of the conference, there will be master classes for listeners from Kazakhstan (doctors and teachers of medical universities, psychologists) about managing adolescents with mental health problems.

The main goal of the conference is to facilitate cross-countries dialogue and use opportunities to promote mental health and wellbeing through the application of better policies, research and investments that highlight and address the needs of children and adolescents.

At the conference were participated over 400 people from 15 countries: the leading Kazakhstani and authoritative international experts in the field of mental health of children and adolescents, teachers, organizers of education and healthcare, NGOs. Welcoming remarks delivered by several representatives, such as Minister of Health - E. Birtanov, Deputy of the Majilis of the Parliament - Commissioner for Children's Rights in Kazakhstan - Z. Baliyeva, Professor Afzal Javed, (Great Britain / Pakistan) - President of the World Psychiatric Association, Professor of the University of Molise Marco Sarkiapone (Italy), 6 UNICEF country officers, WHO representatives, and participants from 11 embassies. At the plenary and 6 sectional sessions, the conference participants discussed such topical issues as: integration of mental health in health care and psychiatric care in the primary link. Particular attention was paid to the role of schools in strengthening mental health and preventing suicide; suicidal behavior, depression and anxiety in adolescents; new technologies for strengthening the mental health of children and adolescents. A big and interesting discussion was held to the issue of children and adolescent’s management who were traumatized in childhood, to the abuse and violence, to the role of higher education and postgraduate training in strengthening mental health in young people.

Thus, recognizing suicide as a serious public health problem that can be solved only through intersectoral interaction the delegates and speakers of the conference adopted a resolution in which they decided to cooperate further in this direction. Also, they recognized the need for training of clinical psychologists and strengthen the role of schools to the mental health problems of children and adolescents. In addition, they recognized the need to develop special programs involving UNICEF, international experts, non-governmental organizations and qualified individuals in the field of education and mental health.

During the conference, the participants demonstrated poster presentations, which aroused great interest. The President of the Conference, Professor Marco Sarkapione proposed to publish them in the journal of the European Association of Psychiatrists.

All the participants of the conference were satisfied with the format of such a significant event and received interesting information about the project, which was held in Kazakhstan. They got a new knowledge from world scientists in the field of child psychiatry, and could personally ask questions to the speakers and representatives of UNICEF country officers of Central Asia, Europe and representatives of WHO.