Addressing Mental Health Needs of Children and their Families While Strengthening Health Systems

On August 6th, Dr Chiara Servili, WHO focal point for child and adolescent mental health in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Dr Andy Shih, Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs of Autism Speaks, provided practical advice on how to better respond to the specific mental health needs of children and their families through a health systems approach. 

About the Guests
Dr Chiara Servili, is the focal point for child and adolescent mental health in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization's headquarters office, based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

She is advising and supporting governments and civil society organizations in promoting child mental health and addressing the mental health needs of young people, with a focus on low resource settings. Her current responsibilities relate to the development of tools to guide the planning, implementation and evaluation of health interventions and services for early detection and management of childhood-onset mental disorders, including developmental disorders, emotional disorders and behavioural disorders. She is also member of the WHO mhGAP team where she is focal point for guidelines on childhood-onset mental disorders.

Prior to joining the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in 2010, she worked in WHO's Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development and served the organization in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

Dr Andy Shih, Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Autism Speaks, works closely with members of Autism Speaks’ Board, Scientific Advisory Committee, senior staff and volunteer leadership to develop and implement the organization’s research program. He oversees the public health portfolio, which includes Autism Speaks' Global Autism Public Health Initiative, an international advocacy and development effort currently active in over 60 countries that integrates awareness, research, and service development. Andy and his team serve as technical advisor to ministries and other government agencies by facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and sourcing needed content expertise and other technical resources with the goal of delivering community-based feasible, cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

Andy’s research background includes published studies in gene identification and characterization, virus-cell interaction, and cell-cycle regulation. He was instrumental in the cloning of a family of small GTPases involved in cell-cycle control and nuclear transport, and holds three patents on nucleic acids-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Prior to focusing on Autism Speaks’ public health/international development efforts, Andy oversaw the organization’s investments in genetics, environmental sciences, epidemiology and assistive technologies.


Main Image Credit: © 2013 Somenath Mukhopadhyay, Courtesy of Photoshare

Children and adolescents
Families and carers
Child behavioural and developmental disorders
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