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Report: Science-based Psychosocial Treatments are Needed to Help Improve the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in Greece

June 21, 2023

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative releases a Synthesis Report of a landscape analysis conducted with a window into the mental health of children and youth in Greece.

New York, NY – The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative (CAMHI), a partnership between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) under the SNF Global Health Initiative (GHI), the Child Mind Institute, and a Greece-wide Network of mental health providers in the public sector, released the results of a comprehensive landscape analysis outlining the state of mental health of children and adolescents in Greece. A Synthesis Report on the process and findings describes the multi-pronged research effort to better understand the needs of children, adolescents, and their families/caregivers, as well as educators and professionals working with them. This includes, for the first time, a review of all the scientific papers published in the field of mental health pertaining to children and adolescents in Greece, a summary of laws and policies substantiating a rights-based approach to mental health, and a nationwide survey of almost 4,000 people, including parents, teenagers, teachers, and a variety of mental health professionals. It is also accompanied by an effort to map mental health services currently available within the public healthcare and educational systems for children and adolescents.

The report offers insights for enhancing child mental health in the country, focusing on evidence-based interventions and culturally specific training and psychoeducational resources for parents, teachers, and physicians, as well as insights for combating existing and deep-rooted mental health stigma. The findings of the research suggest a need for CAMHI to prioritize and address three critical elements of the mental health landscape: the widespread need for greater mental health awareness, the demand for mental health training, and the need for a diverse, pluralistic approach to psychosocial interventions.

This analysis found:

  • The most frequent mental health conditions among the youth surveyed in Greece include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, disruptive behavior, depression, and bullying.
  • Educators agree on the scarcity of training and support that would aid in identifying and addressing students’ mental health problems, as well as instances of child abuse and neglect.
  • Parents agree that stigma is a barrier in Greek society, but they do not recognize their own stigmatized attitudes towards mental health.
  • Τhe daily practice of 22% of all health professional respondents involves assessment of suspected child abuse and neglect.

The members of the CAMHI Scientific Steering Committee emphasize that the need for greater science-backed mental health care and support in the country is obvious, but not insurmountable. They add: “There is tremendous buy-in from and passion among professionals working with children across all sectors to increase access to quality resources, as well as a deep understanding of the complexity of systemic challenges that impede children and families from having access to the mental health services they need. We hope this report will serve as a first step towards achieving our mission of supporting and strengthening mental health care offered by the public health sector throughout the country.”

By offering not only insights into the greatest areas of need for the provision of child and adolescent mental health care in Greece, but also extensive details about the methodological approaches to secure this data, the landscape analysis can also offer a blueprint for how to create a foundation for programs that can be effective, relevant, and targeted to the real needs on the ground.

The findings from the landscape analysis informed the design of trainings that will be widely shared with multiple professionals supporting children across Greece. These trainings, along with guides with information on the most common mental health difficulties, will be available online and in person starting January 2024.

The expansion of SNF’s support through the establishment of the SNF Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Child Mind Institute will allow the organizations  scale and adapt components of the CAMHI model to other locations, including South Africa and Brazil, with hopes of reaching more countries in the future.

With the utmost respect and gratitude for the community of mental health researchers and practitioners in Greece, the CAMHI team is releasing the Synthesis Report in English today and will be publishing the full analysis in Greek in the coming days.

About the Child Mind Institute

The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders by giving them the help they need to thrive. We’ve become the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health by providing gold-standard evidence-based care, delivering educational resources to millions of families each year, training educators in underserved communities, and developing tomorrow’s breakthrough treatments. Together, we truly can transform children’s lives. Please learn more about the Child Mind Institute’s impact here.

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About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving the public welfare.

Since 1996, the Foundation has committed over $3.5 billion through more than 5,300 grants to nonprofit organizations in over 130 countries around the world. The ongoing $750 million-plus Global Health Initiative (GHI) is SNF’s largest-ever grant initiative. It includes the design, construction and outfitting of three new hospitals in Greece, procurement of critical equipment such as air ambulances, training programs for health care providers, efforts to expand access to quality mental health care such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative in Greece, and collaborations with institutions like The Rockefeller University, the Child Mind Institute, and the National Children’s Alliance in the United States; Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital; King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center in Jordan; and Yorkshire Cancer Research in the United Kingdom.

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