Dear members and colleagues,
Nowadays, citizens of every country are suffering greatly from the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic: Anxiety, fear, and losses from an "invisible", yet real threat. Inverting normal daily life. A constant stream of worrying news. An increasingly stringent string of restrictive measures. The bleak prediction of a new global socio-economic crisis.
The whole treaty is potentially traumatic and, together with the strengths of the country's society, institutions, and health system, the mental strengths of all citizens of all ages are tested. Children and adolescents are especially among the most vulnerable, suffering from mental health problems, living in refugee camps, and in extreme poverty conditions.
Children and adolescent psychiatrists, with a high sense of responsibility, try to stand by the children and their families from the first moment in these imposed restrictive ways of life such the "We Stay Home" project. From every position, in the public and private sectors, in every possible way, they support, inform, advise, and help parents, children, cooperate with educators and other professionals to face the new reality. Parents will need to organize an unprecedented daily routine, manage their own stresses and anxieties, and be able to incorporate the emotions that move in children. For families who have been in contact with mental health services, colleagues try to ensure 'ongoing' psychiatric care - always in line with the WHO guidelines - by weighing, in the tug of war, of the most restrictive measures and urgent psychiatric needs.
There is an urgent need for a collaborative international action. We must have and exchange reliable information in every field, in clinical practice, in research, in mental health policies, in the use of modern e-technology tools.
ESCAP as a first step of the project for child and adolescent mental health in the era of COVID-19 releases these pages on its website and calls everyone to contribute.
Professor Dimitris Anagnostopoulos
Page update: 23 March 2020