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Newsletter

August 2003

Welcome to the second e-newsletter of INTERCAMHS. We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. Ideas should be emailed to intercamhs@psych.umaryland.edu

The Alliance currently has over 200 members from 22 countries.

Contents

How INTERCAMHS came about

The Centre for School Mental Health Assistance (CSMHA) is a training, research and technical assistance center for mental health in schools in the United States (funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health and Services Administration). It holds an annual conference on Advancing School Mental Health.

In 1998, the conference began to attract people from other countries and planning began to increase international networking related to school-based mental health. At the same time, the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) held a meeting in Puerto Rico also in 1998, in which school health and mental health was a major focus. Annette Johnson of the New York State Department of Health attended the IUHPE meeting and helped CSMHA staff connect with this organization. In 1999 Louise Rowling attended the CSMHA conference in Denver, Colorado, and planning for the network began to intensify. This continued at the CSMHA meeting in Atlanta in 2000.

In 2001, the emerging network presented a series of presentations on International Perspectives on School Mental Health at the IUHPE meeting in Paris. At this meeting about 30 people from around the world also met to discuss the formal development of the network. Mark Weist, CSMHA Director, with the assistance of Annette Johnson and Louise Rowling then developed a preliminary operating code for the network, which was presented at the Second World Conference for Mental Health Promotion in London in 2002. About 15 people from around the world reviewed the code and provided input. A revised code was then presented at a meeting of about 50 people at the CSMHA conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2002.

Based on this meeting, the recommendation was made to develop the name International Network for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools. Since then an international advisory board (including members from Australia, Germany, UK and Iceland) has made recommendations including streamlining the leadership structure, developing an e-newsletter, developing a web site, and changing the name to International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (INTERCAMHS).

An on-going challenge for the Alliance has been and will continue to be, the 'language' that it uses. It is the first purpose of INTERCAMHS to develop and adopt a common language of terms related to mental health and schools.

The First International Meeting of INTERCAMHS

As presented in the first newsletter, the First International Meeting of the Alliance is to be held on October 22nd at the Hilton Portland Hotel in Portland, Oregon. This date is fast approaching and planning continues to intensify. The international meeting is being held in conjunction with the 8th National Conference on Advancing School Mental Health sponsored by the Center for School Mental Health Assistance (October 23-25, Hilton Portland Hotel). For more information on the 8th National Conference see http://csmha.umaryland.edu.

The Intercamhs meeting will begin with an open meeting from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm to share experiences, research and opportunities for collaboration. Participants will have the opportunity to present developments and challenges within their country and receive feedback from a global perspective. An advisory board meeting will be held from 4:30 to 7:00 pm followed by an open reception (7:00-9:00 pm). We encourage you to take this time to network with others and celebrate the First International Meeting of the Alliance!

If you need to make travel and/or hotel arrangements please email your information to Sylvia Huntley at shuntley@psych.umaryland.edu as soon as possible.

For more information about the Intercamhs meeting contact Elizabeth Moore at emoore@psych.umaryland.edu.

New members at the Advisory board

Six new members have joined the advisory board since the last newsletter was realeased. We welcome:

Today there are 16 officers from 11 different countries (4 continents) who serve on the board. Ex officio are Louise Rowling, President (Australia); Jean Pierre-Valla, Vice President (Canada), and Dora Gudrun Gudmundsdottir, Secretary (Iceland). Board members include: Catalina Gherman (Romania), Cheryl Vince Whitman (US), Chris Bale (UK), Gloria Benard (Canada), Katherine Weare (UK), Leyla Ismayilova (Azerbaijan), Mary Byrne (Ireland), Michael Murray (UK), Pamela Cantor (US), Pauline Dickinson (New Zealand), Peter Paulus (Germany), Truong Trong Hoang (Vietnam) and Mark Weist (US) who is the Board Liaison Officer.

European Project: "Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Strategies for Coping with Anxiety, Depression and Stress related Disorders in Europe (2001-2003)"

Mental Health Europe, a European NGO based in Brussels representing associations and organisations in the field of mental health in Europe and deeply committed to the promotion of positive mental health and the prevention of mental illness, has been involved since November 2001 in a project on "Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Strategies for Coping with Anxiety, Depression and Stress Related Disorders in Europe" financed by the European Commission.

The main aim of this project was to build a European strategy to initiate and implement actions in Member States on Mental Health Promotion and Prevention for coping with anxiety, depression and stress-related disorders. The division into three sectors (children, adolescents and young people to age 24 years in educational and other relevant settings, working adults from 25-60 years and older people from 60 years in various settings) ensured that the whole life span was covered.

Mental Health Europe was responsible for the Sector "Children, Adolescents and Young People up to 24 years in education and other relevant settings".

National partners chosen by each sector went on a search, using their contacts to help them, and used standard questionnaire to structure the replies from project leaders. Responses varied greatly from country to country but also between sectors. Thirty-two projects were received for the sector children, adolescents and young people, sixty-five for the working adults and forty-six for the older people's sector. The sectors, together with their experts, selected the Best Practices among them according to the key criteria that had been set at the beginning of the project, focussing especially on evidence-based and evaluated practices.

To conclude this project, the group made a series of recommendations, based partly on the knowledge and experience of those in the field, partly on evidence from the wider research literature, and partly on the experience of these projects - all the recommendations have at least one project which exemplifies them.

The conclusions resulting from this project have lead to recommendations on how to improve mental health in Europe in order to increase well-being and to reduce high costs. These recommendations will now have to be put into practice.

The project is now in its final stage and will finish at the end of August 2003.

For more information on the Children's sector, please contact Kirsten Zenzinger at Mental Health Europe, e-mail: kzenzinger@mhe-sme.org.

For questions relating to the "Working Adults" sector, please contact Nathalie Henke at the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Germany, e-mail: Henke.Nathalie@baua.bund.de.

For questions relating to the "Older People" sector, please contact Juha Lavikainen at STAKES, e-mail: Juha.Lavikainen@stakes.fi.

The website: intercamhs.org

Chris Bale, a member of the board is now preparing a short-term website for Intercamhs which will hopefully be online in the beginning of September.