Conference concept

INTRODUCTION

The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), European Psychiatric Association (EPA) and European Brain Council (EBC), and in collaboration with other international and civil society organisations will host an international conference with the objective to highlight effective and evidence-based approaches to promote mental health and wellbeing among children and adolescents.

It will be the first opportunity for the Republic of Kazakhstan to host an event at the start of their chairmanship of the UN Security Council. The Conference will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where, 40 years ago, in September 1978, a historical international conference on primary health care adopted the Alma-Ata Declaration, which defined primary health care as the key to achieving the goal of "health for all by the year 2000" (Alma-Ata Declaration on PHC). In the very first section, the Declaration reaffirms the WHO definition of health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" and reaffirms health, including mental health, as a human right. The role of PHC becomes even more prominent in the context of reaching Sustainable Development Goals.

Good mental health is the key to realising fundamental human rights and human potential, as there is no health without mental health. While many countries throughout the world have achieved important progress in decreasing children and women’s mortality and morbidity, the progress is uneven in reducing the burden of mental health problems – especially among adolescents.

Success in the promotion of mental health can be achieved only with input from different sectors and requires the close involvement of the education, labour and social protection, and justice sectors, including the participation of communities, families, children and adolescents. For example, effective adolescent mental health promotion and suicide prevention is impossible without school engagement.

PURPOSE OF THE CONFERENCE

The key purpose of this Conference is to facilitate cross-countries dialogue and use opportunities to promote mental health and wellbeing through the application of better policies, research and investments that highlight and address the needs of children and adolescents.To achieve this, the Conference will:

  • Provide an inter-country advocacy platform for high-level discussions on the need to step-up efforts, aimed at promoting the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents;
  • Provide evidence and policy advice, which will contribute to meeting the mental health needs of children and adolescents, especially vulnerable adolescents such as adolescents in conflict with the law and with risk of suicidal behaviour;
  • Provide a platform for exchanging experiences and best practices between countries, pertaining to the integration of mental health into primary health care;
  • Promote national and international research, innovations and investments to better understand and meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents;
  • Promote evidence-based approaches and best practices for intersectoral adolescent mental health promotion and suicide prevention interventions.

OUTCOMES OF THE CONFERENCE

1.The Conference results in stronger political commitment from Kazakhstan and other countries, and call for actions prioritizing the promotion of the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents, and addressing their respective needs.

2. In the aforementioned context, it is expected that participating country delegations, donor communities and international and nongovernmental organizations will define priorities and outline the steps necessary to make improvements in the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents, including through alliance and partnership-building.

3. The Conference provides an opportunity to establish stronger platforms for networking and exchanges amongst the participating countries and other participants from scientific and donor communities, as well as contribute to establishing partnerships on specific areas related to improving the mental health status of children and adolescents.

PARTICIPANTS OF THE CONFERENCE

  • Country Delegations
  • International Organizations
  • Scientific Community and Professionals (working in the area of mental health promotion and care)
  • Nongovernmental Organizations
  • Donor Organizations