Child and adolescent mental health
World Autism Awareness Day: 2 April 2012
On 18 December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, which declares 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
Despite the high burden of autism and other developmental disorders in children and adolescents, these conditions have been widely neglected by policy makers and public health experts, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. As a consequence, children and families in need have often poor access to services and do not receive adequate treatment and care. Greater investments in advocacy, awareness, research, and services and human resource development are needed.
The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day is meant to spur these and other steps, and to draw attention to the unacceptable discrimination, abuse and isolation experienced by people with autism and their families.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiatives of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people in all regions. If untreated, these conditions severely influence children’s development, their chances to attend school and their potential to live fulfilling and productive lives. Despite the widespread recognition that psychosocial well-being and optimal development is a prerequisite for healthy, cohesive and productive societies, childhood mental and neurodevelopmental disorders have been widely neglected by policy makers and public health experts.
Children with mental disorders, and their families, are often confronted by barriers including inadequate legislation and policies, negative attitudes, and poor access to care. The recently adopted UN GA Resolution on “Addressing Socio-Economic Needs of Individuals, Families and Societies Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disorders” , WHO Resolution on “Global burden of mental disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response from health and social sectors at the country level” and related Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan provide a promising opportunity for leveraging global efforts towards substantive changes in policies and services.