Half of the world's population are children or adolescents. Nearly 5% of them suffer from mental disorders and another five percent have conduct disorders.
Even in highly developed industrialized countries mental disorders in this age are often not recognized nor taken seriously. The situation is made worse by the lack of awareness of the magnitude and severity of the problems caused by mental disorders of children and adolescents by political and health decision-makers, by health professionals and by the general public; and by the fact that health professionals and others involved in child care and development have often only rudimentary knowledge about appropriate methods of prevention and treatment of mental and neurological disorders in childhood and adolescence.
It is for this reason that the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) this unprecedented program.
This program aims at; increasing the awareness of health decision-makers,health professionals and the general public about the magnitude and severity of problems related to mental disorders in childhood and adolescence and about possibilities for their resolution; at promoting the application of measures of primary prevention of mental disorders in childhood and adolescence and of interventions that will contribute to the healthy mental development of children and adolescents; and support to the development of services for children and adolescents with mental disorders and to facilitate the use of effective methods of treatment.