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Mental health is a future challenge we are currently facing

29 Mental Health

The importance of health was highlighted during the demanding but also unprecedented conditions of a health crisis, while the pandemic crisis also left its mark by shedding light on how difficult it is for individuals and entire societies to manage a threat to people.  During 2021, “The Smile of the Child” witnessed a rapid increase in the number of a) children who expressed suicidal ideation (more than one case of suicidal ideation per day) and b) children with developmental disorders (personality, food intake, and so on).  Simultaneously, the number of children in need of any type of treatment is growing, while public treatment providers are unable to meet the enormous volume of needs.

At the same time, “The Smile of the Child” is there for those who have been affected and/or are mentally ill, mobilizing and adapting all of its actions to the needs of children and their families. Special emphasis was placed on the provision of services to people with mental health problems both remotely, via the National Helpline SOS 1056, which has been expanded with the new Chat 1056 application, the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111, the Psychosocial Support Helpline for COVID-19 10306, as well as in-person via the local Centers for Immediate Social and Medical Intervention (in 15 regions  of Greece), but also the Organization’s Day Center, “The House of the Child”.

The Day Center, through an interdisciplinary team, aims to promote positive mental health in children and families through child psychiatric assessments, as well as therapeutic access for children who have recently or previously been exposed to intense traumatic experiences and, as a result, face mental health problems, adjustment problems or behavioural issues. The Agency’s specialised staff provides comprehensive support.

The sense of autonomy and dignity in people suffering from mental illnesses and/or other serious difficulties is a concern for all of us.