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Child, youth and family mental health

Child, youth and family mental health in the Pacific to be discussed at Vanuatu conference

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual conference will begin in Vanuatu next week.

‘We are tremendously pleased to be able to hold the conference in Vanuatu’ says Chair of the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Dr Nick Kowalenko.

More than 100 psychiatrists from Australia and New Zealand will join mental health colleagues from Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu to discuss mental health care and psychiatric practise for children and adolescents at a mental health conference.

This is the first time the annual child and adolescent psychiatry conference has partnered with the Pasifika Medical Association and Vanuatu Medical and Dental Association.

‘For many months after Cyclone Pam it seemed it might be difficult to hold the conference here, but our Pacific partners, and especially those on the ground, insisted this conference go ahead and focus on trauma and recovery’ said Dr Kowalenko.

‘We have been building our relationships with our mental health colleagues in the broader Pacific region for many years, and this is an excellent step in enabling us to consolidate those relationships, and share mental health skills and experiences.

The Culture, Community and Healing conference will run for four days, beginning on Tuesday 29 September, and more than 300 people working in mental health throughout are expected to attend.

‘We have a very exciting scientific program’ said Dr Kowalenko, ‘with presenters covering many areas of young people’s mental health and wellbeing after trauma, parenting in different cultures, depression in adolescents, school interventions, human rights and the impacts for children who have parents with a mental illness, drug dependence or who experience family violence.

‘We are looking forward to hearing from Dr Chia Granda, who will be speaking about the mental health needs of youth following on from the aftermath of Hurricane Iniki in Hawaii.

‘Our members are also very pleased to be participating in workshops to enhance service delivery of psychiatric care in Vanuatu’.

For more information about the program go to


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