Dimitris Anagnostopoulos "National societies are the backbone of ESCAP"

COVID-19 & mental health: collaboration is key

ESCAP president calls to all national societies to collaborate

Dear colleagues and ESCAP members, 
The coronavirus pandemic has found us unprepared due to its sudden appearance and rapid global spread. The strain on our health systems, the feelings arising from the pandemic (despair, guilt, fear, panic) and the death caused by the virus have paralysed our ‘normal’ lives.
We are wearing many hats during this traumatic situation; of course we are dealing with this as individuals, some as parents and then as mental health professionals.
The ESCAP board is fully aware and empathise with all our colleagues, in every country. From whatever position you hold, in the private or public sectors, you continue to support, inform, advise and help parents and children, and cooperate with educators and other professionals to face our new reality, despite your own concerns and personal sacrifices. We applaud your efforts and commitment; you make us proud of our CAP specialty.
This crisis threatens both our lives and our identity, but at the same time it strengthens the meaning of life. According to Winnicott's admission, "We have a duty to stay mentally alive" and as the Novelist poet Odysseas Elytis says "Let's open up to the seas, we are the captains and we must endure"; thus our concerted efforts for a common action can and will prevail. Patience is the best weapon we have in this fight. Therefore, through collaborative practices, all of us, citizens, patients, physicians, mental health professionals, and volunteers can join forces to deal with the consequences of this pandemic.
We call upon our national member societies during this time to collaborate now, more than ever. ESCAP has launched several initiatives that can only be fruitful and effective and reach the right people, if we share these with our members and if our members contribute.
ESCAP facilitates the bonds between European countries in mental health issues and collaborates with international organisations for the well-being and mental health of all children. Similar to other key initiatives set up in recent years, e.g. the refugee crisis in Europe, the ESCAP board has started new initiatives addressing the impact of coronavirus on children’s mental health. We have launched:
-        A policy position statement
-        Set up a resource list offering support and guidance links for the public and professionals, in collaboration with other organisations
-        Gathered resources in different languages that have been provided to us by national child and adolescent psychiatry societies
-        A CovCAP Research Survey aiming to look at the long-term effects of the pandemic on child and adolescent psychiatry services. We strongly encourage CAP heads to contact our editor to obtain a personalised invitation and be included in the ESCAP CovCAP Consortium. If you would like to share a public link of the survey with colleagues, please use this link below. Please contact our editor for more information. 
-        Assigned a ESCAP coronavirus-specific committee to manage and develop these initiatives
-        The editor-in-chief of the ESCAP official journal, European Child + Adolescent Psychiatry (ECAP) has liaised with key leaders around the world to work on articles on the current situation
-        The scientific committee of the next 2021 19th International ESCAP congress in Maastricht, Netherlands have incorporated the pandemic and its effects as a central topic in the upcoming congress
National societies are the backbone of ESCAP. We have clear goals of being the leading force in European child and adolescent psychiatry. Our aims will be accomplished only with close collaboration with national member societies to configure common European visions, values and initiatives.

What can you do? Please take advantage of being a member of ESCAP, use your individual member country page on our website, update all the details we have for your society, send communication papers to our ECAP journal or contact our communications editor for any issues addressed here or for matters concerning CAP in your country.

With your contribution, ESCAP will strengthen, CAP services, education and policies can improve, and ESCAP will be in a position to empower and enhance all national societies’ efforts at an international level.
We are waiting for your contribution, stay safe and strong.
Kind regards
Professor Dimitris Anagnostopoulos
ESCAP president
Visit the specialised Coronavirus pages for more information.