Major project to help traumatised children worldwide

Posted by ap507 at Jan 13, 2015 10:50 AM |
University of Leicester child psychiatrist to aid affected communities in low income countries

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 13 January 2015

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  • Professor Panos Vostanis to visit low income countries and help children in slum communities with mental health problems caused by traumatic experiences, drug abuse and medical disease
  • Training to be offered to practitioners and volunteer workers of large charities and educational institutions to work with and help child victims
  • Orphans and neglected groups of children to receive direct aid

A child psychiatrist from the University of Leicester is to embark on a global mission to help child victims of trauma in low income countries around the world.

Professor Panos Vostanis from the Greenwood Institute of Child Health based at the University of Leicester School of Psychology will be visiting a series of countries throughout 2015, in Europe and beyond, in order to train volunteer workers and practitioners to effectively deliver aid to those most in need of it, including child victims of drug abuse, poverty and medical illness.

Professor Vostanis said: “Child mental health is attracting public and media attention worldwide, with an increasing number of initiatives to reduce stigma, improve recognition of child mental health problems, and offer appropriate help and intervention at an early stage.

“This is particularly important for children who suffer from adversity and various types of trauma, and who live in low income countries with limited access to specialist services.

“As universities play an increasingly global and active role in working closely with other academic centres, services and communities, we are pursuing our strategy in strengthening these links with the vision of helping the most vulnerable children and young people who have experienced extreme poverty, abuse and war trauma.”

In order to achieve this, Professor Vostanis will be visiting such collaborating centres to establish new joint training programmes with international universities, services and non-governmental organisations.

Starting in Mumbai, where Professor Vostanis will be visiting between 22-28 January, he will be training practitioners and volunteer workers of two large charities – the Dr Leo Barnes Foundation and the Ramakrishna Mission - and will be visiting communities affected by trauma.

Some of these visits will include shelter houses for children up to the age of 18, slum areas where children affected by drug abuse live, villages exposed to tuberculosis and leprosy and orphanages for children who have been abandoned or have lost their parents.

His travels will then take him to Kocaeli in Turkey, with Professor Nisha Dogra from the University of Leicester School of Psychology, followed by Nakuru, Kenya, to provide training and psychosocial support to victims of ethnic conflict.

The Greenwood Institute of Child Health at the University of Leicester, housed within the School of Psychology, is a centre for teaching and research around child mental health issues. Some of its staff also work for the NHS clinical services and offer mental health services to young people. The Institute, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013, has established many international links and collaborations in training and research over the years.

Regular updates on the progress of the training and Professor Vostanis’s experiences during the project will be regularly communicated through twitter at: @pv11Panos /


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Professor Panos Vostanis on

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