Helping to improve young people’s access to mental health care in Greece

We don’t talk frequently enough about the mental health challenges young people experience that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

Children and adolescents in Greece, like their peers around the world, face a troubling lack of access to mental health care. We seek to address this, combining local and international expertise to empower frontline professionals and enhance care.

Mental health services should not be a luxury, or a privilege reserved for only a few, but a given for anyone who needs them, starting in childhood.

Andreas Dracopoulos
Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Co-President

Across the world, millions of children struggle with mental health and learning disorders. If we can reach them and provide care early, their lives can change in incredible ways.

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
President of the Child Mind Institute
our mission

Our mission is that every child, adolescent, and caregiver have access to evidence-based information and good-quality mental health care, and that every health professional has the opportunity to augment their skills to help children overcome their mental health problems and thrive in life

our vision

every child has a right to quality mental health

our values

Focus on Children and Adolescents

The majority of all mental health and learning challenges arise during childhood but are often overlooked and left untreated, which can lead to long-term difficulties persisting into adulthood. However, research has shown that these real and common issues can be treated, and the earlier a child receives care, the better the outcome. Providing children and adolescents with mental health care can result in a lifetime of improved health and well-being.

Promote Equity in Care

Every child and adolescent has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health care, yet access to quality resources and services has not been equitable. Income disparity, a shortage of mental health care providers, and geographic isolation are just a few of the many barriers to equitable care in Greece and worldwide. By making all our resources, trainings, and tools free and available to anyone, anywhere—from the biggest cities to the smallest islands—and by working with a network of providers serving different communities across the country, we aspire to help increase access to and equity of care.

Integrate Greek and International Expertise

We are leveraging state-of-the-art scientific and clinical research, conducted in Greece and around the world, to produce and culturally adapt reliable resources and effective treatments for all children and adolescents. This work is carried out through close collaborations between Greek and international mental health experts and is enhanced by input from local families and communities. 

Follow the Science

There are a variety of mental health treatments in use today, but not all are supported by science. Our training curriculum embraces a variety of approaches to address child and adolescent mental health challenges that are supported by rigorous, peer-reviewed research. In this way, the curriculum encompasses multiple schools of thought, with approaches that have been proven effective and are based on the best available evidence. It is designed to meet the realities of the public health system and maximize the benefit of the Initiative according to the needs and strengths on the ground.

Raise Awareness & Reduce Stigma

One of the most challenging barriers to effective mental health care is lack of proper awareness about how common mental health conditions are and the existence of effective treatments, combined with widespread stigma, such as false ideas that mental health issues are imaginary or shameful. We know that mental health is an integral part of health and must be treated as such. We also know that mental health and developmental disorders are real, common, and treatable. That’s why we are working to open the conversation, to let everyone know that they are not alone. No one should feel ashamed, and everyone should be aware that help is available.

Listen to youth

“Nothing about us without us.” Youth voices need to be heard and considered, and available resources and information must be effectively suited to their needs and adapted to their context and current reality. We are systematically incorporating the views of children and adolescents across Greece into all of the Initiative’s components on an ongoing basis through the creation of five Youth Advisory Boards that are operating in different Greek cities.

news & updates

our mental health network

explore our network

Select a hub to view more info

Thessaloniki holds special significance for the CAMHI, given the effort underway to progressively develop a Center of Excellence under the future Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki. As such and to best serve the needs of the country’s second largest city, the CAMHI aims to formalize partnerships with child and adolescent mental health departments and clinics as well as multiple institutions in Thessaloniki. 

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In Athens, the CAMHI is in the final planning phase of its upcoming partnership with the ‘Paidon Agia Sofia’ Children’s Hospital, where the SNF Health Initiative has also committed a complementary grant for renovating a building within the hospital complex to house needs of the CAMHI and expand mental health services for children and adolescents in direct collaboration with ‘Paidon Agia Sofia’. 

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The Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) Network of the CAMHI was officially launched in early 2022 through a partnership with the University General Hospital of Alexandroupoli and the hospital’s Child Psychiatric Clinic. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Hospital and Child Psychiatric Clinic, the CAMHI, and the Hellenic Ministry of Health marked the official creation of the Alexandroupoli hub as a collaborating center for the Network which serves not only the city of Alexandroupolis, but also the broader region of Thrace and nearby islands. 

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The University General Hospital of Ioannina and the Psychiatric Clinic of PAGNI play a critical role in expanding the scope of the CAMHI and offering child and adolescent mental health resources and care in Northwest Greece. Based on an MoU between the Hospital and Child Psychiatric Clinic, the CAMHI, and the Hellenic Ministry of Health, the Ioannina hub joined the Network as a critical center, serving the broad geographic region of Epirus and delivering support to historically underserved communities. 

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As the largest island in Greece, the creation of the Crete hub, through an MoU between the University of Crete, the Child Psychiatric Clinic of the University General Hospital of Crete, the CAMHI and the Ministry of Health, was essential for the CAMHI Network. In addition to serving Heraklion – Crete’s largest city, the Crete hub is responsible for delivering resources and care to a huge catchment area that includes smaller communities and remote locations as well as other islands.

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