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The Federal Government and the authorities targeted by the articles 128, 130, 135 and 138 of the Belgian Constitution approved in March 2015 a “Guide for a new mental health care policy for children and teenagers” (guide pour une nouvelle politique de santé mentale pour enfants et adolescents) in order to adopt a new policy as regards to mental health of children and teenagers. The new policy has adopted a national plan which covers the period 2015-2020. The new policy targets mainly young people from 0 to 18 with a mental health disorder as well as their family or relatives and the mental health’s stakeholders. It also targets young people from 18 to 23 in order to ensure a transition towards the adult’s mental health care sector. Vision and mission The vision of the new policy is based on 7 principles:
- A global approach (continuity and complementarity of health care) ;
- A general approach with a possibility to offer specific care to target groups ;
- The importance of early detection, prevention and health promotion ;
- Fostering the treatment in the patient’s environment (home care must be favoured) ;
- During the treatment, it is important to take into account the health factors (health determinants) to give more chance to the social reintegration process. A dialogue with the relevant authorities must be undertaken ;
- It is important to take into account the socio-economic environment in order to offer to anyone (groups with socio-economic risks) the best chances to receive the right care ;
- The policy will pay attention to harmonise the transition towards adult’s mental health cares.
The main mission (functions) of the mental health stakeholders are: - Early detection, screening and guiding ; - Signposting ; - Treatment ; - Inclusion in every field of life ; - Exchanges and expertise (valorisation de l’expertise) The national plan is based on the 4 objectives of the WHO’s “Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020” according to the “Guide for a new mental health care policy for children and teenagers”. The Federal Minister of health and its administration are responsible for the coordination of the global policy and its action plan. The Regions and Communities are involved in the policy by taking action in their own field of competence. The national plan requires a cross-sectorial cooperation involving federal authorities with regional and community’s authorities. Taskforces are charged to evaluate through the health national survey the outcomes of the new policy. A Committee for the follow-up of the new policy is set out. The “public health Interministerial Conference”, which is composed of every Health Ministers, approved in 2012 a statement for the realisation of networks and care circuits in the sector of mental health for children and teenagers.
The new policy on mental health care for children and teenagers provides a legal framework in which stakeholders take action. Suicide Prevention Centres fund programmes to provide trainings on suicide prevention for professionals dealing with young people.
Due to the pandemic, belgian governments cooperated to strengthen the psychological support in december 2020. The multidisciplinary mobile aid has been strengthen to focus further on young people with mental health issues.