Home Press Press Press

Adolescents in psychological distress: it is crucial to develop teenagers' care facilities
Brussels, May 28, 2009 - This Thursday, May 28, 2009, the first General Assembly of the AISBL "Action for Teens" was held in Brussels.Founded at the initiative of a group of European psychiatrists, this international association aims to provide for each adolescent in psychological need, a "home" adapted to his teenage world and to help him find a balance with himself and his environment.
Today, the majority of the traditional structures do not take the adolescence characteristics sufficiently into account. Indeed, these require the increase of the number of nearby facilities open to specific care, based on a multidisciplinary approach that is hinged on the crucial relationship with the family and society.

According to the World Health Organization an estimated 10 to 20% of adolescents in Europe suffer from one or more mental or behavioral problems. Psychological disorders such as anxiety and phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities, depression, eating disorders, addictions, etc.  are increasing. These figures are particularly alarming. Often, the adolescent in psychological distress, or their close circle, do not know where to turn to find the right help. Adolescents are no longer children but not yet adults either and there are not enough care facilities to answer their questioning.

It is to alleviate this deficiency that a group of Belgian, French, Italian, Spanish and Swiss psychiatrists has decided to establish a federation, under an AISBL status (international non-profit association). Its mission is to support all initiatives that contribute to create facilities that are open, integrated, multidisciplinary and specific to adolescent in psychological suffering, boosting cross-border cooperation and increasing awareness among European governments on this issue. More specifically, the European network "Action for Teens" intends to gather all the knowledge on existing centers that offer this type of adapted care and to facilitate the exchange and sharing of the know-how. Action for Teens will also raise the general public’s and the authorities' awareness on the need to promote and create these structures.

"Specific care for an adolescent in distress must be based on a multidisciplinary approach taking into consideration health, social, judicial, educational, sport and cultural aspects. It should be developed through an intense network activity," explains Professor Marcel Rufo, French child psychologist, founder of "House of Solenn" in Paris and specialized in adolescence. "These care facilities must be visible and easily accessible. It should provide a foster home, an opportunity to be heard, information and orientation, but also give out educational, legal and social support."

The AISBL "Action for Teens" will be managed by a committee operating in Belgium, which will soon be created. A scientific committee, chaired by Professor Marcel Rufo, will also be put in place. At the launch of the Federation, May 28, 2009 was declared as being "European Day of Youth." The first initiative of Action for Teens has led to a professional conference, followed by a public lecture by Professor Marcel Rufo.

A C T I O N     F O R     T E E N S