In a press release, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe said that a new programme launched in collaboration with the Greek government will place support for and promotion of the quality of mental health care for children and adolescents in all 53 countries in the region “at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery.”
According to Xinhua news agency, the launch event in Copenhagen coincided with the opening of the WHO Athens Quality of Care Office in Greece’s capital.
The initiative is the product of a long-term engagement and collaboration between WHO Europe and the Greek government across the health system, notably in the areas of patient safety and quality of treatment.
“Mental health and well-being are basic human rights that should be prioritised in our health-care systems and are critical to recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone in society has been impacted by the epidemic, but the most vulnerable, such as children and young people, have suffered the most “Dr Hans Kluge, WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, stated.
The initiative will “assist in mitigating and reducing the long-term mental health damage caused by this pandemic.” According to him, there were over 4,000 suicides among the region’s 10- to 19-year-olds in 2015.
Since he emphasised, ensuring that children and adolescents have access to adequate mental health care is both a moral necessity and a long-term investment, as almost half of all mental health issues in adults begin during or before puberty.
Kluge claims that the new initiative will also help the millions of people affected by the Russia-Ukraine war.
“It is evident that supporting people’s mental health needs — notably those of children and young people — must be at the centre of any effective health system, whether it is because of an unusual epidemic or a sudden humanitarian disaster,” Kluge added.
“With real actions and answers, the initiative will promote the creation of national policies, frameworks, and the exchange of lessons gained across the European continent,” he added.
“We’ve been fighting an unknown opponent for more than two years, and we’re still not done.” At the inaugural event, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis remarked, “We have to think about what it would be like to cohabit with COVID in the long term.” Mitsotakis has recently recovered completely from COVID-19.