Learn from Turkish child and adolescent psychiatry
Establishment of child and adolescent psychiatry as an independent discipline. This allows TACAP to set high educational standards and to control their own certified exams.
Organizing top quality training programs to provide the necessary number of child psychiatrists.
Convincing government policy makers of the importance of child and adolescent mental health care. In Turkey this has not been primarily a financial issue but rather a matter of mentality.
Help out Turkish child and adolescent psychiatry
Research opportunities – certainly for biological and molecular studies – are not widely developed. How to achieve a breakthrough?
The Turkish Association is looking out for ideas in the area of the promotion of children's and adolescents' rights, addressing government policy and cultural impact.
Turkey needs to increase the number of mental health professionals, especially clinical psychologists and social workers working in the field. Reaching families that live far away from big cities is an issue in Turkey. TACAP considers tele-child psychiatry, but would like to hear from other countries if they have experience with these online services.
These top-3 listings by Dr Füsun Çuhadaroglu Çetin M.D., professor at the Hacettepe University (Ankara), ESCAP Board member and President of the Board of the Turkish Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (TACAP).
The Association for child and adolescent psychiatry in Turkey is developing very quickly. The main problem is the small number of professionals working in the field: about four hundred child psychiatrists and far fewer other mental health professionals, to serve a population of about 25 million under eighteen. For a number of years the Turkish Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (TACAP) has been working along with government policy makers to develop child psychiatry as a separate discipline. Dr Füsun Çuhadaroglu Çetin: “We have convinced them of the importance of giving priority to children’s mental health. We have shown them our vision and now they support our concept. Policy makers now are aware of our lack of professionals and recently we are getting more funding for training. This makes us very hopeful.”
In the last few years the number of child psychiatrist in Turkey is rapidly increasing. Increase of the number of clinical psychologists, child psychologists, social workers and educational trainers is progressing at a lower pace.
After getting enough well trained mental health workers in place, development of seperate inpatient units is the biggest issue in Turkey. The TACAP has been very busy with policy matters in order to implement their programs also in the rural areas. To get this done nationwide does not seem easy. Most professionals are based in the big cities at eighteen Academic Centers and also at State Hospitals. Dr. Çuhadaroglu: “We now have developed a solid base structure, but we need to enlarge it so that mental care for children and adolescents will be spread out all over Turkey.”
Facts and figures
The Turkish Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (TACAP) was founded in 1991. There are sixteen committees (adolescent , infant, cultural issues and public education, ADHD, mood disorders, internal relations, children's rights, consultation-liaison, handicapped children, inpatient services, forensic CAP, trauma, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, ethics, autism spectrum disorders) working within TACAP.
The aim of the Association is to increase the quantity of child and adolescent psychiatrists (400 in 2013) and the quality of mental health services for 0-21 age group, to provide a high qualification in training and continuous professional education for child and adolescent psychiatry professionals, to increase public awareness on children’s rights and child mental health and disorders, to work with policy makers to develop and increase the child and adolescent psychiatry services across the country.
To achieve the stated goals the Association arranges a national congress, a symposium on adolescence annually in addition to the seminars, case discussion groups and courses. TACAP brings out their quarterly peer reviewed Journal (Çocuk ve Gençlik Ruh Sagligi Dergisi, with English abstracts) and has published a textbook on child and adolescent psychiatry (in Turkish only, 2008, with a new edition coming up) and several other books and booklets.
The highly valued Turkish training for child psychiatry takes four years including twelve months in general psychiatry and three months in pediatric neurology. The training is standardized in accordance with the framework of the UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists).
TACAP receives EU support on several research programs. But research opportunities – certainly for biological and molecular studies - are not widely developed. Most of the research done in Turkey is clinical research and local studies regarding specific issues in child psychiatry such as autism, ADHD and affective disorders. The Adolescent Committee within the Association is the leading player in adolescent research and training, in cooperation with the three established adolescent units in Hacettepe, Ankara and Ege Universities.
TACAP is a member of ESCAP, IACAPAP and UEMS’ Child Psychiatry Section.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Çocuk ve Gençlik Ruh Sagligi Dergisi), a peer reviewed journal, is being published in Turkish with English abstracts since 1994 three times annually, cited in Psch-Info and going through the procedures for application to Medline.