The growing number of physical and mental illnesses, self-destructive or aggressive behaviour among children and youth, children's emotional/physical abuse within the family and at school, their vulnerability and defenselessness are an increasingly challenging issue for child healthcare and society as a whole. A recent UNICEF report (2021), in line with other major international epidemiological studies, finds that twenty-five to thirty percent of children and adolescents in consumer societies have emotional or behavioural problems, and one in seven children have a diagnosed mental illness. At the same time, there is a growing number of children living in environments which predispose them to psychological problems or mental illness, or put them at risk, be it parental unemployment, addiction or mental disorders. Furthermore, environmental factors are exacerbated by contemporary developments in the world, which are creating successive crises that impede healthy psychological development. Pandemics, war, climate change, and the disruption of the global economic system are all taking their toll on the mental health of the next generation and worsening the already shocking epidemiological data.
To ensure that the paediatricians, child psychiatrists and psychologists of the future are properly equipped to deal with the forces that are hindering healthy psychological development in the twenty-first century, professionals must be purposefully equipped with the most up-to-date approaches. The Center provide effective tools not only for paediatric aspirants. The developmental effects of childhood experiences take deep roots in the human mind, so they can also play a major role in the psychological phenomena and problems of adulthood.
At the Center for the Health of the Child, Family and Society, we aim to provide students with a holistic vision, emphasising a bio-psycho-social approach to development. Our aim is to enable students to understand in depth that the onset, course, prognosis and management of physical and mental illnesses are virtually always determined by the combined and complex interaction of hereditary, age-related, physical, environmental, psychological, behavioural and personality development factors.