IACAPAP President Prof. Bruno Falissard discusses the most pressing concerns for researchers and clinicians in the child and adolescent psychiatry field
The International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) advocates for the mental health and development of children and adolescents through policy, practice and research — a mission that was clear at its recent 23rd Congress.
Taking place every two years, this year’s congress was in the “Heart of Europe”: the historic city of Prague in the Czech Republic. History, in fact, was the key theme, with many presentations highlighting the vast history and achievements of the Association over its 75 year existence. However the focus of the opening ceremony was firmly on the future, with children taking to the stage to astonish the conference delegates with a graceful display of ballet.
Frontiers in Psychiatry met with IACAPAP President Prof. Bruno Falissard at the congress to discuss the most pressing concerns for researchers and clinicians in the child and adolescent psychiatry field.
There are such a wide range of fascinating talks here at IACAPAP this year. In your opinion, what are the key areas of interest for researchers in the field at the moment?
There are so many key areas that are “in fashion” at the moment, however I would say that research into the neurodevelopment of psychiatric conditions in children and adolescents is popular, for both positive and negative reasons.
Neurodevelopment is an important topic for children and adolescents, because mental health disorders should not be seen in isolation, but rather in connection with multiple disorders and the brain. Today in psychiatry, if you want to be recognized, you need to be involved with the neurology of psychiatric disorders, which is why the neurodevelopmental field is so popular at the moment.
What are the negative reasons for the focus on neurodevelopment in the field at the moment?
It can become a “blind spot” for treatment. For example, during familial interaction, the child is being treated within a family, the whole family can suffer and this is difficult to tackle from a purely scientific point of view. It’s important for clinicians to recognize that neurodevelopment is just one part of a much bigger picture when working with children and adolescents with mental health problems.
What areas deserve further research attention?
In my opinion, there is not enough research on psychotherapies, specifically, the development of sustainable psychotherapies. Here at IACAPAP, we want to ensure that treatment for children and adolescents with mental health problems is accessible and realistic for children worldwide, to ensure that sustainable therapies are development which can be afforded by all families, regardless of their economic status.
What are IACAPAP’s aims and goals to continue to support clinicians, researchers and people with mental health conditions?
Our goals are:
- Maintain an international and “bottom-up” perspective
- Listen to cultural and clinical diversity
- Promote approaches which are scientifically grounded
- Promote interactions between professions and continents
The 23rd IACAPAP Congress took place from July 23– 27, 2018. The next congress will be in Singapore in 2020.
Frontiers in Psychiatry – Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has the same mission as IACAPAP. As a future-focused section, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is dedicated to studying the relationships between developmental processes and psychiatric illness in children and adolescents, with the aim of disseminating evidenced-based studies dedicated to the overall improvement of the global mental health for those in their first two decades of life.
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