February 2004

Newsletter – February 2004

Welcome to the third e-newsletter of Intercamhs. We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. Ideas should be emailed to [email protected]


Summary from Intercamhs’ first meeting in Portland, Oregon

Forty three delegates from around the world gathered in Portland, Oregon, in October for Intercamhs’ first international meeting. The discussions served to highlight many of the most pressing issues in child and adolescent mental health worldwide and considered how Intercamhs will tackle them.

During the day-long conference, twelve Intercamhs members gave short presentations about their work. These covered a wide range of services and programmes – from a study of over-indulged children in Canada, to a mental health promotion programme for teenagers in New Zealand; from a mental health awareness campaign in Iceland, to concern about the mental health of schoolteachers in Germany. Prof Katherine Weare from England outlined how old divisions between the mental health and education sectors are disappearing, with a growing awareness that mental health promotion is everyone’s business.

  • The need for common language and key terms in mental health
  • The need for better exchange of information and more collaboration
  • The inadequacy of mental health funding in most countries
  • A possible role for Intercamhs in advocating policy change
  • Crucially, there was agreement that Intercamhs must represent the full continuum of mental health promotion, early intervention and treatment in schools.

The first Board meeting was also held in Portland, with fourteen of the sixteen members present. Among the decisions taken:

  • The Center for School Mental Health Assistance at the University of Maryland will continue to facilitate Intercamhs and will seek funding for operational expenses.
  • Five working Groups have been established – Advisory Board/Conference Meetings; Board and General Membership; Communication; Outreach and Advocacy; and Research and Collaboration. (If you are interested in joining any of these groups, please notify Louise Rowling at: [email protected] )
  • A Steering Group has been formed and will draft Intercamhs’ Vision, Aims and Guiding Principles, for approval by the members. These are now online at:
  • The Portland conference was organized by the Center for School Mental Health Assistance (CSMHA) at the University of Maryland. Funding for both the conference and the Board meeting was generously provided by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Brief summaries of the conference presentations and a history of Intercamhs’ formation are now available on our website –

The next Intercamhs conference will be in Auckland, New Zealand in September 2004, to coincide with the 3rd World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioural Disorders (for details, see

The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion

“The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion” is to produce a special issue this summer, reflecting the themes of Intercamhs’ first International Meeting. Six articles will be published by Intercamhs members from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Russia and the United States. You can read abstracts of the articles and find out how to order your own copy of the Journal by going to

Conference on Mental Health Promotion and Prevention in New Zealand

The Third World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, From Research to Practice, will be held from September 15th – 17th, 2004 in Auckland, New Zealand. The main objective of the Conference is to build upon the work that was begun at the first two world conferences in Atlanta in 2000 and London in 2002 to develop effective practice that is based on sound research. This international working meeting is designed to advance prevention and promotion through collaborative relationships and the support for mental health across countries and disciplines. The five major themes of the 2004 Conference are: research; evidence-based programs and policies; international exchange and cultural variation; advocacy, policy-making and organization; and training and expertise development. Intercamhs has assisted in the development of the meeting and in organizing a track of presentations focusing on school-aged children and adolescents in the five theme areas.

The Conference is organized by the World Federation for Mental Health, the Clifford Beers Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand in collaboration with the Carter Center. For more information regarding the Conference please visit To submit to be a presenter you will need to prepare a 400 word abstract reflecting one of the above themes for school-aged children and adolescents to arrive no later than March 31, 2004 at [email protected]

Intercamhs 2nd Annual Meeting

Intercamhs will be holding its annual meeting in advance of the 3rd World Conference, on September 14th. In addition, a symposium will be organized during the conference to reflect upon the annual meeting and address future directions for the Alliance. A reception is also in the works to allow for networking and socializing among Alliance members. Numerous pre-conference workshops and sessions will be taking place in Auckland, allowing Intercamhs participants to network with other professionals, inform others of Intercamhs presence at the 3rd World Conference, and promote the vision of the Alliance. This presents a unique opportunity for Intercamhs to attract new membership and publicize the Alliance.

If you are interested in attending the Intercamhs 2nd Annual Meeting, please email to [email protected]. If you would like to submit a presentation, include your background information and the title, abstract, and co-author names. More information regarding the meeting will soon appear on

We look forward to seeing you in Auckland!

Intercamhs’ workshop at the IUHPE conference in Melbourne, April 2004

Intercamhs is going to host a workshop at the 18th World Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education held in Melbourne, Australia, 26. – 30. April 2004. You can find more about the conference on:

Workshop title: Exploring quality practice in the international exchange and adaptation of school based mental health programs

This workshop hosted by Intercamhs, will explore issues that need to be considered to promote the international growth and sustainability of school based mental health programs. Four speakers will give brief presentations to stimulate discussion which aims to cover questions such as: How do we bridge the cultural divide between countries and within countries? What are examples of successful practice and what can we learn from these? What role does the language of mental health play in creating blocks to collaboration and in providing a key to multidisciplinary partnerships? Are there some generic principles and processes that can be identified to guide international exchange of programs and information? In relation to research, does adoption guarantee replication of effect or is re-invention required? Is school based mental health research design and implementation culturally bound and therefore not amenable to global exchange? Does the concept of a ‘model program’ provide direction for action?

Louise Rowling (Facilitator)

Michael Murray

The value of model programmes in school based mental health.


Mental health promotion in schools has been under funded for many years and there has been a long-standing underestimation of the degree and prevalence of mental health problems among children and adolescents. The burden created by the incidence of poor mental health is not just financial but in total arises from a range of individual suffering and emotional consequences for children. Recent years have witnessed a series of initiatives to promote collaboration and co-operation between organizations and individuals working in the field of child and adolescent mental health promotion. The presentation will make a plea for the further development, evaluation and dissemination of models of best practice/model programmes (and the related concepts such as evidence-based prevention and demonstration projects) as an important instrument for improving the quality, social impact and cost effectiveness of mental health promotion in schools.

Annette Johnson

Bridging the cultural divide’ – the role of culture in addressing mental health needs


The field of mental health has become acutely aware of the need to factor cultural perceptions and context into the development of programs, group and family interventions and, where indicated, treatment plans. This is particularly important in school-based mental health because of the cross section of socio-economic, ethnic, racial and environmental characteristics that have an impact on the outlook of students, families, education and services staff that converge in this setting. The discussion will focus on the basic principles of what has been called “cultural competence”, acknowledgment of diversity or cultural sensitivity. The presentation will look at how to move beyond recognition of differences to the development of tools to enable the services provider to approach working with students, their families and education staff, in a manner that respects the differences and factors them into plans, for addressing mental health needs is an objective manner.

Jo Mason

Going International


The process of adapting the Australian MindMatters materials for other cultures has highlighted the important role of the principles contained in the Community Matters resource. Using these principles enables adaptations that maintain the original concept of the MindMatters materials as well as acknowledge new contexts for those materials. Included in the presentation will be the discussion of importance of developing a real partnership that can genuinely expand the concept of health promotion for both partners and how this can be managed through the interesting waters of intellectual property, translation and adaptation. Samples of the training provided by Mindmatters to the trainers from Germany that it is beyond just gaining kudos and having good times, will be used to promote discussion.

Peter Paulus (presenter), Marco Franze, Katrin Schwertner

An adaption of an Australian program for mental health promotion in secondary schools for German Speaking countries. A report on the first results of a pilot study


A German adaptation of the Australian MindMatters program will be tested in an 18 month pilot in 29 secondary schools in Germany and Switzerland in 2004-2006. Results of an initial testing in schools with pupils as well as teachers will be presented. The discussion will focus on (a) problems of adopting a program from a different socio-cultural and language background and (b) the prospect of developing a European version of MindMatters (“MindMattersEurope”) for the countries which are members of the “European Network of Health Promoting Schools”.

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