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International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools

Vision

Intercamhs' vision is that mental health will be addressed through collaborative interdisciplinary whole school approaches for all school community members across nations.

Our Guiding Principles are that:

  • The term 'mental health' should imply not only the consideration of mental illnesses and problems but also a positive state of emotional, social and cognitive well being in individuals, groups and communities.
  • Mental health is viewed from a holistic perspective, recognising the interconnectedness of the physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological, as well as the social environment of school, family and community.
  • In the school context, a coordinated 'whole school approach' to mental health teaching and learning is needed, linking curriculum to school culture and ethos, management and organisation and to partnerships with communities, service providers and families.
  • Respect and sensitivity to cultural diversity and different skills and values, needs and experiences underpin collaborative activities across school communities, local communities and nation states.
  • Work in mental health needs to: fully involve all participants in the process, including school staff, school students and parents; encourage genuine dialogue between parties; and foster a sense of empowerment and autonomy.
  • Addressing mental health through schools in a comprehensive way involves a full range of levels of intervention, from mental health promotion for everyone, to targeted prevention and early intervention.
  • Effective school mental health interventions involve interdisciplinary practice necessitating coordination between a wide range of agencies, both government and not for profit, where different perspectives, approaches and goals are respected.
  • Positive mental health supports school quality and effectiveness, including promotion of meaningful learning and teaching by students and staff.
  • As far as possible practice needs to build on 'evidence based' approaches, which involve appropriate use of a range of methods from both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms.

Intercamhs aims to:

  • Develop and adopt a common language of terms related to mental health in schools.
  • Build communication mechanisms between people interested or involved in school-based mental health in different countries.
  • Encourage dialogue, the sharing of lessons learned, collaborative activities and mutual support among people and programs in different countries.
  • Enhance interdisciplinary approaches to school-based health care.
  • Promote the advancement of a strategic research agenda and collaborative research among people and programs in different countries.
  • Foster the development of advocacy agendas, coalitions and policy improvements in areas vital to the advancement of mental health in schools.
  • Raise awareness of the mental health needs of youth and the value of school-based programs in helping youth, schools and communities achieve desired outcomes.
  • Stimulate increased funding and improved capacity to provide a full continuum of mental health promotion, early intervention and treatment services in schools.
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