Minor mental health. Sinpia: “Neurodevelopmental disorders doubled in 10 years, prevention is essential”

In Italy about 2 million children and young people affected by neuropsychic disorders. The first National Day for the promotion of Neuro-development will be celebrated on Wednesday 11 May 2022. For the occasion, historical monuments and institutional offices will light up with the colors of the rainbow. And Sinpia will promote a free webinar open to the population dedicated to the promotion of neurodevelopment.

  • A round table to celebrate the first 50 years of the Italian Society of Childhood and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry.


10 MAY

Promote the health and safeguard of neurodevelopment, that complex period that from conception to the first 1000 days and then up to young adulthood, is crucial in determining the good physical and mental health of individuals, as well as in the genesis and possibilities for the treatment of neurological, psychiatric and neuropsychological disorders of childhood and adolescence.

With this objective, Sinpia – Italian Society of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry launches the National Day for the promotion of neurodevelopment.

Common risk factors and genetic, neurobiological and environmental components transversal and age-specific can in fact interfere with the process of neurodevelopment, modifying the development of the brain very early, compromising the neural networks that underlie the maturation of adaptive, motor, communicative and learning functions. , emotions and behavior. The effects of these changes can be evident from the first years of life, leading to the onset of disorders such as autism, language and learning disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy. Or become evident in adolescence, with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.

“We need targeted and careful interventions for the promotion of neurodevelopment – he explains Elisa FazziPresident of Sinpia and director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit ASST Spedali Civili and University of Brescia – to increase protective factors and decrease the impact of risk factors. Interventions directly to support a harmonious emotional, motor, linguistic, cognitive, social development from birth to adolescence, and then interventions to support situations of family vulnerability, greater attention in all environments and in the contexts of life in which children and kids grow up and more. Finally, it is necessary to guarantee targeted interventions when there are signs of risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. In fact, more and more research shows how a positive neurodevelopment, from conception to young adulthood, is fundamental in determining the good physical and mental health of individuals. To celebrate the Day we have chosen the colors of the rainbow, to represent both the incredible variety of aspects involved in neurodevelopment and related disorders, and the need for all children to live in times of peace in order to develop their own neuropsychic potential “.

To celebrate the day, many Italian municipalities and institutions will light up on the evening of 11 May their headquarters or monuments with the colors of the rainbow, including the headquarters of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and the Loggia in Brescia. Also on the occasion of the Day of Neurodevelopment, the Neuro Psychiatry Services and Operational Units of the Italian regions will activate local initiatives to raise awareness on the issue.

On the same day of Wednesday 11 May starting at 16.30, a webinar (link) free and open to the entire population promoted by Sinpia will be dedicated to the importance of investment in the promotion of neurodevelopment and the treatment of related disorders. The webinar, which will be followed by a round table dedicated to SINPIA’s 50th anniversary, will be attended by Flora Vaccarino of Yale University (USA),Giovanni Cioni (IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa), Nardo Nardocci (IRCCS C. Besta National Neurological Institute of Milan), Filippo Muratori (IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa), in addition to the president of Sinpia Elisa Fazzi (ASST Spedali Civili and University of Brescia) and to the Sinpia Past Presidents Antonella Costantino (Milan Polyclinic), Franco Nardocci (University of Modena) e Bernardo dalla Bernardina (University of Verona).

Due to the pandemic and its impact on the general health of the population, the mental well-being of minors has decreased by more than 10% worldwide, with the doubling of children below the threshold of discomfortwith an increase in anger, boredom, difficulty concentrating, a sense of loneliness and helplessness, stress, sleep disturbances as well as even more severe pathologies such as eating disorders and self-harm.

In Italy, neuropsychic disorders of the developmental age affect almost 2 million children and young people, between 10 and the 20% of the infant and adolescent population between 0 and 17 years, with very different manifestations in terms of type, course and prognosis. Their incidence is on the rise, in less than ten years the number of children and adolescents followed in the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry (NPIA) services has doubled.

“The doubled prevalence of neuropsychic disorders is certainly the expression of a trend already present in the previous 10 years – he explains Antonella Costantino, Past President of SINPIA and Director of the Operating Unit of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry (UonpiaA) of the IRCCS Foundation “Ca ‘Granda” Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano – the Pandemic has however shown how a decrease in collective attention to needs neuropsychics of children and adolescents can have dramatic consequences on their mental health and their overall development, particularly for those who already had vulnerabilities. The exponential growth of requests we are witnessing concerns all neurodevelopmental disorders, across all developmental age groups, and is not limited only to psychiatric disorders in adolescence. Consequently, it must be approached with a systemic outlook, well rooted in the new knowledge offered by neuroscience, in the awareness that much can and must be done to prevent the emergence of disorders and that treatment requires clinical and organizational models capable of to adapt quickly to changing needs without falling into easy reductionism “.

Finally, the increasingly overwhelmingly negative impact of economic, social, and cultural inequalities, in turn aggravated by further destabilizing events such as pandemics and wars, together with indifference, denial, misunderstanding, hostility and stigma, it has a disruptive value in the increase of neuropsychiatric disorders.

“The problems resulting from neuropsychic disorders of the developmental age are now dramatic and tragically neglected, both in terms of implementing adequate prevention strategies and in terms of resources for treatment – he concludes Elisa Fazzi – System resources and responses are needed, integrated and coordinated between education, social and health, in the context of a profound cultural change that opens up to innovation and the future, so that all children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families see finally recognized the right to appropriate and timely care and their maximum development potential guaranteed “.

May 10, 2022
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Minor mental health. Sinpia: “Neurodevelopmental disorders doubled in 10 years, prevention is essential”

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