7.5 Mental health
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There is no specific national strategy in place to improve young people's mental health.
The federal government's strategy for the promotion of child health (Strategie der Bundesregierung zur Förderung der Kindergesundheit) also targets the health of children and young people, especially their mental health.
Improving the mental health of young people
Funding campaign “Healthy for life”
The aim of this initiative funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) is to create a basis so that children and young people remain healthy or recover more quickly. It focuses on child-oriented approaches to preventing and treating chronic diseases and mental problems, health maintenance and prevention concepts for vulnerable people as well as biological and molecular mechanisms that have an effect on health and illness. Research networks cover a broad spectrum of subjects. They are examining ways to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental problems and physical disorders, and they are studying the impact of early life events on physical and mental health.
Working group "Children of parents with mental illnesses”
Given that children of parents with mental illnesses are at greater risk of becoming mentally ill themselves, they are a particularly vulnerable group with special support and service needs. Several Books of the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbücher) provide for a variety of services for children, young people and legal guardians, however these do not usually take sufficient account of the family as a social unit and are not coordinated in a needs-based manner. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ), together with the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG), the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS) and the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government has therefore appointed an interdisciplinary task force to propose ways to improve the situation of affected children and their families. The task force will clarify responsibilities, competencies and legal conditions and, if necessary, identify the need for legislative action.
Information portal about depression “I am everything”
The project “I am everything” (ich bin alles) was developed by the Clinic and Polyclinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the LMU Clinic Munich (Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie des LMU Klinikums München) in partnership with the Beisheim Foundation (Beisheim Stiftung). The content of the project’s website on depression has been extensively researched and is based on scientific studies and findings. Information about the treatment of depression is based on the S3 National Disease Management Guideline (S3-Leitlinie) on the treatment of children and young people with depression. Parts of the website are evaluated in scientific evaluation studies to ensure that information is understandable for users and knowledge of the subject is increased.
“Life carries weight – Fighting the slimming craze” initiative
The initiative “Life carries weight – Fighting the slimming craze” (Leben hat Gewicht – gemeinsam gegen den Schlankheitswahn) was launched by the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) in December 2007. Its aim was to raise awareness about the subject of eating disorders and to encourage young people to question beauty standards and develop a positive sense of self-worth. A panel of experts made up of representatives of the relevant institutions and expert associations supported the project from the beginning.
The "Life carries weight" initiative no longer exists, but the panel of experts is still active. For example, it encourages stakeholders to coordinate their work and address various current topics. Numerous institutions are involved. The project is part of the National Action Plan IN FORM – a German initiative to promote healthy diets and physical activity (Nationaler Aktionsplan “IN FORM – Deutschlands Initiative für gesunde Ernährung und mehr Bewegung"). The Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) also continues to support the project with a range of measures.
Research partnerships on behavioural disorders related to violence, neglect and abuse in childhood and adolescence
Sexualised violence against children and young people is a serious problem and one that has been known about for a long time. Cases of physical or mental abuse or the neglect of children and young people are similarly shocking. In 2010, the federal government set up the round table “Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional and Familial Contexts” (Sexueller Kindesmissbrauch in Abhängigkeits- und Machtverhältnissen in privaten und öffentlichen Einrichtungen im familiären Bereich) to better protect children and young people. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) funds research into health-relevant issues to push forward our understanding of this field and make available new, evidence-based treatment and prevention methods. Funding since 2012 has totalled some 42.7 million euros. Projects worth 19.5 million euros are being supported in the current funding phase. Partners are: