The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Child Mind Institute

By: Dr. Giovanni A. Salum, M.D. Ph.D., Director of Implementation and Partnerships, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Dr. Michael P. Milham, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Digital Technologies and Innovation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Dr. Harold Koplewicz,M.D., Ph.D. , President, Child Mind Institute

The urgency of this moment demands an ambitious agenda and a commitment to building the capacity necessary to improve the lives of children, adolescents, and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Through international collaboration and a commitment to open resources, we have an incredible opportunity to harness and advance game-changing innovations in mental health sciences and care and, in turn, change the trajectory for millions of children and adolescents around the world. We at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Child Mind Institute, are very happy to be working to establish with IACAPAP a partnership to make this dream happen! 

The Global Center consists of six initiatives to combat four of the greatest barriers to care: limited access to evidence-based services, provider shortages, lack of information, and stigma. Although the initiative is yet in the beginning and the road map might change according to interactions with partners like IACAPAP, WHO, and UNICEF, the current aims of the SNF Global Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health are:  

1. Global Landscape Mapping: Map the landscape for child and adolescent mental health care knowledge, resources, needs, and current efforts around the globe.

  • Conduct and maintain the largest multinational child and adolescent mental health survey in a representative, international sample, assessing the needs of multiple stakeholders  
  • Curate open databases on child and adolescent mental health needs, assessments, therapies, and disorder prevalence  
  • Build a stakeholder registry to facilitate connections between clinicians, civil society organizations, and researchers  

2. Multicultural Adaptation, Implementation, and Training:Make training in science-based psychosocial interventions available to anyone, democratizing access to education in mental health care and increasing the number of providers.

  • Create a model for adapting evidence-based treatments to ensure that they work for children of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Assess the implementation of multicultural trainings to make sure treatments are actually improving children’s lives
  • Build a global digital platform to train professionals across cultures and increase the capacity and numbers of trained professionals certified in evidence-based therapies

3. Innovations in Clinical Assessment and Intervention: Build, test, and deploy new technologies to augment mental health care and research, including mobile apps, sensors, and analytical tools.

  • Develop reliable, multimodal in-lab/in-clinic, at-home, in-school, and in-community assessment toolkits
  • Integrate interventions into toolkits to address key symptoms
  • Create partnerships with NGOs and other organizations to assemble a network of providers for the rapid testing of tools, novel psychological treatments, and other promising interventions

4. Public Awareness and Engagement: Share knowledge to empower the public and fight stigma.

  • Serve as a credible messenger that provides reliable, valid, up-to-date knowledge and information for professional and lay audiences
  • Create culturally adapted suites of digital resources
  • Launch anti-stigma campaigns whereby inspirational people share their stories and support of mental health care, which makes an enormous difference to children struggling with these conditions and reduces the stigma they face

5. Fellowships: Create an innovative leadership program for delivering solutions at scale and increasing capacity to treat and study child and adolescent mental health disorders.

Launch three categories of fellowships to appeal to a diverse group of individuals from various sectors, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds

  • Research Fellows: Develop an elite, multinational cohort of early-career scientists that represents the global leaders of tomorrow
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows: Train a core group of child and adolescent psychiatrists from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) who will commit to infrastructure building and service in their local communities
  • Global Communicators: Promote the diverse activities of a group of communicators (spanning advocacy, education, journalism, policy, and lived experiences) who will focus their work on mental health needs in LMICs

6. Expert Gatherings and Network Formation: Bring together experts to synthesize knowledge and form active, collaborative networks.

  • Help break down silos in the field and give a platform to less well-established areas in child and adolescent mental health
  • Create innovative convening vehicles and task forces, such as hackathons and un-conferences
  • Encourage creative minds from multiple fields to work together in pursuit of solutions for the most intractable challenges in child and adolescent mental health
  • Set an ambitious, diverse agenda for global child and adolescent mental health efforts