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A collection of drawings and stories from the WHO Global School Contest on Mental Health

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orld Health O


DhruvDrawing produced by the global winner Dhruv Suri, 7 years, India

A collection of drawings and stories from the WHO Global School Contest on Mental Health


This document has been written and compiled by Dr Myron Belfer, Mrs LindaMerieau and Dr Erica Wheeler, staff of the Department of Mental Health andSubstance Dependence, WHO Geneva. Reviewers of part or all of the documentincluded Hanneke de Boer (International Bureau for Epilepsy, Netherlands), DianeFroggatt (World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders, Canada), Dr Maristella Monteiro (WHO, Geneva), Dr Shekhar Saxena (WHO, Geneva) andDr Kari Schleimer (IACAPAP, Sweden).

Concept and layout: Tushita Graphic Vision, Tushita Bosonet, Carine Mottaz and Valrie RossierWorld Health Day Logo: Marc BizetEditor: Katharine MannCover artwork: taken from the poster produced by Nicole Usher, ShannelleReneau, Brittany Meighan and Adrian Lisbey, 9-year old students, Belize.

For more information on WHO programmes in child and adolescent mental health,please contact:Dr Myron Belfer, Senior AdvisorDepartment of Mental Health and Substance DependenceWorld Health OrganizationAvenue Appia 20, CH-1211 Geneva 27, SwitzerlandTel: +41 22 791 26 12, fax: +41 22 791 41 60e-mail: [email protected]: www.who.int/mental_health

2001 World Health OrganizationThis document is not a formal publication of the World Health Organization (WHO),and all rights are reserved by the Organization. The document may, however, befreely reviewed, abstracted, reproduced or translated, in part or in whole, but notfor sale or for use in conjunction with commercial purposes. The views expressedin the document by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.

WHO/NMH/MSD/WHD/01.2Distr: General/Original: English

Preface .................................................................................................. 2

Introduction........................................................................................... 4

Mental Health ....................................................................................... 8

Sadness and Depression....................................................................... 12

Suicide ................................................................................................. 18

Alcohol or drug abuse in a parent........................................................ 22

Anxiety ................................................................................................ 26

Mental Retardation.............................................................................. 28

Epilepsy ............................................................................................... 34

Schizophrenia ...................................................................................... 36

Stigma ................................................................................................. 40

Guide................................................................................................... 46

WHO Child and Adolescent Mental Health programme ...................... 48

Acknowledgements ............................................................................. 50

Table of ContentsTable of Contents

Dhruv7 years, India


World Health Day 2001 was devoted to mental health with the themeStop Exclusion: Dare to Care. As part of the celebration of World HealthDay a school contest was organized in which young people were askedto show in pictures and words their understanding of what it means tosuffer from a mental illness and what could be done to reduce stigma.We have not adequately recognized that children themselves can beaffected by a mental or brain disorder, or that they can be marked by amental disorder affecting a loved one in the family. It is now known thatabout one in five of the world's youth under the age of 15 suffers frommild to severe mental disorders. However, despite the need for earlyintervention in childhood, most treatments are geared towards adults.Open discussion is a necessary part of prevention and of successful treat-ment. The aim of this book is to foster such discussions.An estimated half a million children and adolescents world-wide participat-ed in the contest. The three finalists in the school contest, selected afterrigorous competition at local, national, regional and finally global level,were invited to address the Ministers of Health gathered for the 54thWorld Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva. The words ofBibbie Kumangai, Palau (aged 17) and Tang Shu-Wei, China (aged 14)as well as the artwork presented by Dhruv Suri, India (aged 7) left a sig-nificant impression in the minds of the Ministers of Health from all coun-tries of the world. It was felt that the words and pictures of the nationalwinners could be put to continuing use by including them in a book thatwould improve awareness on mental health and provide guidance forgreater discussion with young people in schools and communities.We must draw young people into the debate on how we can make goodmental health a reality for everybody. We need to listen and reach out,and be creative in helping them cope with the tremendous pressures andchallenges they face in todays world.Many would not have imagined the depth of feelings and understandingreflected in the contributions to the Global School Contest. It is hoped thatthis important document will allow adults and young persons to engage inopen dialogue to foster improved mental health for all generations.

Dr Benedetto SaracenoDirectorDepartment of Mental Healthand Substance Dependence


Shabeeba8 years, Maldives


This document is a selection of the national winning pictures and storieschosen to illustrate some of the common mental health concerns amongthe young people who participated in the Global School Contest onMental Health. It is designed to be read by young people, and used byadults to facilitate discussions in schools and community settings aboutemotions, mental and brain disorders, and stigma. The book is intendedto provide materials that can be of interest to a wide-range of agegroups. A discussion guide explaining how to use this book as well as alisting of WHO programmes and resources are provided at the end ofthis document. This book is not intended to offer a full explanation ofthe medical conditions described.A complete list of the national contest winners is included on the last page.Only the first name and initial of the family name are used to guaranteethe confidentiality of the story that they have chosen to relate. The globalwinners are, however, identified since as finalists in the contest they agreedto share their story with the world. Names of individuals used in the sto-ries have been changed to protect their identity as would be required incertain countries. A majority of students submitted essays written in English,which is not their mother tongue. Essays submitted in their native languagewere subsequently translated into English for the purposes of judging theentries. This is duly noted on each relevant essay. Full details about theschool contest may be consulted on the following website:http://www.who.int/world-health-day/school.en.html


Claudia9 years, Romania


Lazar14 years, Hungary(translated from Hungarian)

You who now read these lines arehealthy. For you the sunshine meanswarm, stroking rays, flowers meancolourful petals, snow means a beau-tiful white blanket and summerrecalls the blue seas.But what does a disabled personsee, hear and perceive of all thesewonders? How does he see thesun, the sea and the snow? I exper-ienced this wonder once. The raysof the setting sun filtered throughthe branches of the trees in theplayground. I wandered around in contemplation when all of asudden I heard someone crying. It was a boy of 10 or 12 standingby one of the bushes. He was allalone. Whats the matter? I askedhim. Are you lost? I could tell hewas shivering. I put my coat aroundhim. Slowly he raised his head. Hewas unusually timid and looked asif searching for something on theground.A lot of paper, he said pointingto the thick brown leaf-litter.This is not paper, I tried to convince him. They are leaves.Shaking his head, he gave me an odd look. A lot of papercolour paper, dry paper, he saidraising his voice to a shout. Paper,paper! I tried to calm him down.Then a lady came. Come on, love,Ill pick some colour papers for you,she said in a kind tone. It was hismother. She took him by the hand,stroked him and returned my coat.

They set off on the path towardsthe swings.I looked around. This strange childmight be right: the autumn leavesdid look like coloured paper. Thenthe little boy let go of his mothershand, grabbed a fistful of leavesand ran to me. He stopped right infront of me. Good boy leavesfor you. For an instant I was lostfor words. Are you giving themto me? Leaves for you, hesaid and turned round. By then hismother had reached us. Dont be angry with him. He islike this. He is sick, but we love himvery much, she said quietly. I didnot know what to answer. I juststood there in the autumn duskwith a bunch of leaves in my handlooking at the now empty pathDear little boy, wherever you maybe in this world, I am sending youthis message even if you cannotcomprehend the meaning of thesewords. You have given me thenicest gift of all. You have givenme understanding, the ability toaccept you as you are and to seethe wonder of you to see thehuman being in you.

- -

Nicole U., Shannelle R., Brittany M., Adrian L. all 9 years, Belize


Mental HealthMental Health

Health, as defined by the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete

physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence

of disease or infirmity.

From an adults perspective, mental health is seen as an integral part

of health which enables a person to realize his or her own intellectual,

emotional and relational abilities. With a balanced or positive mental

outlook, each person is more capable of coping with the stresses of life,

can work productively and fruitfully, and is better able to make a positive

contribution to his or her community. Mental and brain disorders, by

affecting mental health, hinder or diminish the possibility of achieving

this. Preventing and treating mental and brain disorders helps a person

to achieve his or her full potential.

Defining mental health is the subject of on-going debate. It is difficult

to pinpoint one precise definition because of cultural differences and

varying beliefs. A possible description could be that: Mental health is

the ability of the individual, the group and the environment to interact

with one another in ways that promote personal well-being, the best

possible development and use of mental skills, and the achievement

of individual and collective aspirations, in keeping with the ideals

of justice, and with a view to achieving and preserving fundamental


Many of the young people participating in the Global School contest

have offered their own view of the definition of mental health.

Christine14 years, Federated States ofMicronesiaMental health includes how youlike, accept and feel about yourself;how well you relate to others; andhow you meet the demands of yourdaily life. A person with goodmental health is in touch with hisor her emotions and expressesthem in acceptable and healthyways. Such an individual can usu-ally deal with the problems andfrustrations of life without beingoverwhelmed by them.

Aniel17 years, Dominican RepublicOften apparently normal peoplefeel pity, pain and fear but thesaddest is that there are somewho go as far as abhor, despiseand forget that the mentally ill arehuman beings too. Yes of coursethey are, they have feelings andfrom their heart flows the sameblood as ours, they breathe, feel,laugh and cry just like us and needwarmth, care and, above all, love.In the face of all these difficulties it is a wonder that they somehowmanage to survive since they donthave the same internal and externalresources as we do, but they valuetheir existence more than normalpeople, they live every second oftheir lives and reward us with theirsmiles.

Andrea11 years, EcuadorThe health of the mind dependson our thoughts. If they are posi-tive our life is much more tolerableand we will act more positivelytowards our family and society.


Clarence18 years, Federated States of MicronesiaMental health is the ability to deal in a reasonable way with thestresses and changes of everydaylife. When we have good mentalhealth, we like ourselves and weaccept ourselves as we are. Mentalhealth, like physical health, cannotbe taken for granted. Working toachieve and maintain a high levelof mental health should be a spe-cific goal in each persons plan forachieving total health.Everyone has varying levels ofmental health at different times.Mental health does not meanfeeling happy all the time. It doesnot mean always being in control.It does not mean never fallingapart or never feeling angry, afraidor insecure.

In fact, being able to feel and dealwith a variety of emotions and sit-uations are key components of a persons mental health. Being down, identifying why, doingsomething about it, and bouncingback can give a person a truesense of accomplishment andworth and strengthen his/hermental health in the process.Self-esteem is directly related to your general level of wellness.How you feel mentally and physi-cally, as well as how you take careof yourself, your health habits areall affected by what you think ofyourself. Having high self-esteem promotes good mental health.

Evelyn Livia9 years, Indonesia

Ming-qi7 years, China


Young people can feel sad. Young people, even the very young, feel

sadness in much the same way as adults. Sadness is a normal feeling

when a person experiences a loss, such as the death of a friend, pet,

or relative. Sadness usually goes away after a time during which the

person grieves the loss. Talking with others is an important part of

this grieving process. Grieving may involve remembering times with

the person or thing that has been lost, or wanting to see things and

places associated with the lost person or object. Support from family

and friends is most helpful. Staying involved or getting involved again

with school and activities is also useful. It is not a good idea to try

to avoid thinking about the person or object that is being mourned.

There is nothing to be ashamed of about being sad.

Being depressed means that the young person remains sad for longer

than a normal period of grieving. Sometimes it may not be possible

to recognize what the person is depressed about. Depression may have

biological roots. Disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, loss of interest in

activities, and withdrawal may be signs of depression. Suicide can occur

more frequently in depressed youth. Some will try to rid themselves of

the depression by using alcohol or drugs, but these usually only make

the feelings worse. Professional treatment is often the best solution for

depression. With talking therapies, activities and medication, improve-

ment can be expected.


Sadness and DepressionSadness and DepressionCharlene16 years, MaltaThe teacher asked me whetherdepression was considered to be a mental illness. I panicked; I wasso out of focus that I said the firstthing that came to mind. No!Day dreaming, withdrawal, moodswings, distraction, aggressiveness,drug abuse, loneliness andcontemplating suicide are just a few symptoms of depression. Up to now I had never considereddepression as a mental illness. I am worried for I might actuallybe another victim of this so-calledillness. No I cannot possibly be! I mean who at one point in life hasnot thought about ending all ofthis misery, all of the heartacheand pain? Sure it is not normal tothink about it every single day,upsetting myself up to a pointwhere I am so blind that I inflictcuts and bruises. Yes I know! Youare probably wondering whatcould have gone wrong in my lifefor me to have such a bitter tasteof it already.Well here is a little insight. From a young age I have learned thatno matter how often I asked orhad been promised something, I never got it. By the age of sevenI was doing chores other childrenwouldnt even dream about. I grewup before time, wanting my moth-er to be there with me like therest of my schoolmates, my fatherwould not stop putting me

down and telling me how stupid I was and still am. So I stoppedthe crying, but something morefrightening took its place. Raw,hot anger flowed through myveins up to a point where I wouldimagine killing him or anyone whodared to upset me. From smokingcigarettes, to smoking pot. My most desired wish is to actuallyfind the courage to end this cha-rade. I thought that by takingdrugs and resorting to alcohol I would speed things up. I have no friends for I lash out at themfor no reason. I do this to ridmyself of the anger that is eatingme up. Wouldnt the world be a whole lot better without me?My best friend died of cancer a few months back. She was tooyoung to die. I vowed that I wouldavenge her death by living anddoing what she would have want-ed me to do and doing what shewould have wanted to do. I gave up the drugs and alcohol, I confronted my fears andreleased the demons from withinme, making way in the maze to my heart.


Vladimir14 years, Republic of Moldova(translated from Moldovan)They are there. I am here in blackshadow that never leaves me. It does not let the light of joy gothrough, it is so cold that not asingle child can come to me inorder to become my friendThey laugh. I am always sad. I do not remember what a teacherhas said at the lesson and I cannotreceive good marks. But for a longwhile I want to have at least onefriend, want to be praised at leastonce at school for I study well.My Granny says that my Dad wasnot thinking at all when makingthat child. He thinks only aboutdrinking, kicks up rows at home,offends Mom and blames her forgiving birth to a needless child. I feel so sad and embittered deepin my heart as if tears with bloodare mounting in my heart

Mona9th grade, Tunisia(translated from Arabic)My friend was one of the mostbrilliant pupils when I knew her inthe early years of primary school.Then she became undecided, scared,and solitary, avoiding her friends;and her grades were getting worseby the day.I was used to seeing her tears, her blood-shot eyes, and her saddesperate look. She kept awayfrom me, as though she wantedto avoid any ties to other humanbeings, so I decided to tell the sci-ence teacher about her predicament,hoping he could find a solution. Hebegan by treating her very kindly,and asked her to stay after class

to find out more about her problem,so that it could be placed in theproper perspective by the socialworker and the school physicians,with the aim of helping her over-come the obstacles. Two monthslater I felt that she was graduallyregaining her former academicskills, as well as her normal rela-tions with other students; sherecovered her usual gaiety, andwas happy because I could helpher snap out of her self-imposedisolation and negative attitudetowards life. She later told methat the loss of her dearly belovedfather had caused her suchdepression and sadness about life.

Maria Cristina8 years, Guatemala

Simona9 years, Lithuania

Thujee14 years, Bhutan People with mental disabilitiesoften end up being excluded andtreated in a different way. Peopleget upset when they are abusedin a number of different ways.They also get upset when they are in distress or receive bad orupsetting news. They cannotmake friends because they are dif-ferent. The reason I think thatpeople become depressed or wishto hurt themselves is that they seemany bad or disappointing things.


Annie17 years, SamoaA friend of mine suffered fromdepression for quite a long time.He was so stressed out. He hadtoo much on his plate and thesupport given to him just wasntenough. He felt his happiness at a distance and his life in a misery.He turned to drugs for help that wasnever offered. It was an addition tohis problems. Sufferers of mentalillness react to their condition indifferent ways. Some blame otherpeople for their behaviour. Othersdetach themselves from reality andseem completely unresponsive totheir surroundings.

They may cause physical harm notonly to others, but themselves.Mental illness can affect personsof any age, race, religion or finan-cial status. The brain disorders are treatable! I care and my message to the worldis, exclusion of mental illness mustbe stopped, and we are the onlyones who can do it if we open oureyes and see for ourselves the realproblem. DARE yourselves to CAREbecause its affecting you too!

Veliana6 years, Bulgaria

Maribel8 years, Ecuador

Ivana13 years, Yugoslavia(translated from Serbian)Their sad lives float behind thefog made of tears. But they wishto live cheerfully too, with a smileshining on their faces. Let us sup-port them with our love!



Some young people feel so sad or depressed that they feel life is not

worth living. Sometimes a child or adolescent will feel this even when

it is not obvious they are sad or depressed. Some adolescents, if they

drink too much or take drugs, may get so down that they think of

killing themselves. It is important to realize that children and young

people may have these thoughts, and that they may kill themselves.

Sometimes they do not mean to die but the action they choose leads to

their death. It is important for anyone who has these suicidal feelings

to realize that killing oneself will not solve the problem. Bad situations

can be made better by talking or working with others to solve the prob-

lems. Friends or relatives of someone who feels suicidal should point

the person towards community groups and professionals that are able

to help them.

Shaima14 years, MaldivesThree years before when I was only11 years old, Farida was 12 years.She used to have a very unusualbehaviour. She did not have manyfriends and she was always exclud-ed from society, feeling lonely andalways brooding. She used to feelas if she was deprived of affectionfrom her family and friends.I felt very sorry for her and I did mybest to help her. Farida once toldme that at times she used to getso frustrated that she felt like com-mitting suicide. I always told her tocontrol her temper. I told her thatshe also had a talent and nobodyis perfect. I also asked my auntwho was a counsellor to help her.Luckily before her conditionadvanced we were able to get herthe required treatment and cureher. I am very happy to see Faridaleading a successful life now helping special children who Godhas created in a special way.Though people like us are a dropin the ocean to help the specialchildren, we would be glad tohelp anyone in this world to makethe world a better place to live inby daring to care (for) the exclud-ed children from the society.

Anton14 years, PhilippinesMy friend, Roy was very friendlyand never forgot to wear a smile.Until one day when he was sum-moned to the Principals officebecause he was implicated for usingprohibited drugs. After the investi-gation, his behaviour changeddrastically. He was terrified as to the reaction of his parentsbecause they are very strict.He told me he wanted to commitsuicide, so I informed my teachers.They tried to appease and supporthim. Yet our efforts were futile whenone Friday night he took his life. I cried until it ran dry and realizedthat I could still make up for a friendthat was lost. I became active inthe programmes conducted by the school in stress management,defence mechanisms, parent rela-tionships and others. The atmos-phere became one big family.Let us remember that life is a continuous saga of mystery apuzzle can never be finished if asingle piece is missing to completethe whole picture.


Brian15 years, KenyaJohn seemed a normal person fromthe outside. I guess he had a talentfor hiding what he felt. Obviously,being his best friend, he told meeverything. He was tormented byan emptiness he felt inside. He toldme he was slowly dying from hisparents lack of concern. He hun-gered for their attention.At the tender age of ten, he hadhad his first experience with drugs.Like any good friend, I did the mostnatural thing, talking him out of itbut no amount of coaxing wouldchange his present mentality. He felt in drugs, he had filled theemptiness inside. Being young then,I thought teachers would punishhim rather than help him, so, I keptgrown-ups out of it. He knew howto hide his feelings so no-one wouldhave guessed he was on drugs.This status was maintained untilduring a prize giving day in the

school he passed out and startedfoaming at the mouth. He wasrushed to hospital where he wasdiagnosed with of an overdose ofabout nine non-medicinal drugs.The doctor in charge confessed tonever seeing anything like it. It wasa miracle he survived.A couple of months later, he wassuffering from anxiety, depression,insomnia, everything that is brain-related. This was all the reason heneeded to take his life.John turned to drugs because hisparents never really cared. The empti-ness inside made him susceptibleto any consolation coming his way.Unfortunately for him, it was drugs.Does anyone ever stop and thinkabout what the mentally ill aregoing through?In conclusion, remember a littleconcern will save a life that has so much potential.

Sara13 years, Lebanon(translated from French)I had a friend at school who seemedto be perfectly healthy, although shehad a hard time following classes.Her classmates thought that shewas lazy and stupid, and she feltisolated, left out of the group; shekept to herself as she couldnt joinin their games.One day, I went up to her andsmiled: she couldnt believe hereyes and burst out crying. I calmedher down, and we became friendsfrom that day on.One day, she was doing her utmostto learn her lessons, but she justcouldnt manage. When her daddyhad died, her mother had marrieda man who was very severe, andwho beat her on the slightest pre-text. I remember well that beforethe end of year exams he threat-ened her and told her he wouldkill her if she failed. She was scared

of him and believed it. She startedstudying and I tried to help her, butshe had a mental problem. Thatswhy she couldnt succeed. On thelast day of class, she bid me farewellwith tears in her eyes. The next day,I learned that she was dead; shehad committed suicide by swal-lowing poison.It was a terrible shock, and I criedmy heart out. I still ask myself whois to blame for her death. Is it herstepfather? Is it the school? Is it theState? Is it her social background?I hope that I shall find out one day.

Miriam17 years, Netherlands AntillesIts very important for schools toteach, especially to teenagers, howto deal with people with suicidaltendencies. Its a quite horribleexperience to come across a suici-dal person and not know what todo, how to help or how to com-fort him. The feeling of helpless-ness is horrible and when the person does commit suicide, thefeeling of guilt afterwards, know-ing you were there but didnt or

couldnt do anything to help him,is even worse People need tolearn not to be afraid to talk abouttheir feelings. Mental illness is justa disease, it doesnt mean yourecrazy and its okay to talk to acounsellor or therapist. Education isneeded to make people aware ofmental illness and to help themunderstand. The mentally ill will behelped by the understanding andsupport created through education.

Hoang Gia9 years, Viet Nam


Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in parents can be very upsetting to

young people. A parent drinking an alcoholic beverage is not unusual

unless there is some religious reason for not drinking. However, drink-

ing too much can lead to many stresses in a family. Common family

problems can include the loss of a job, emotional or physical violence,

lack of money for basic family needs, or isolation from friends. The young

person can sometimes feel the need to step in to protect a brother or

sister or the other parent from being abused by the one who is drink-

ing. For the young person to feel helpless and sad at these times is

understandable. The child or adolescent should not feel responsible for

the parents behaviour or drinking problem, even when the parent may

try to blame him or her.

Sometimes, when the parent is not drinking or taking drugs, the young

person can tell them how much it hurts to see them drinking. In some

situations, the best solution may be for a relative or agency to take the

young person away from home and into care for their own protection.

All family members are likely to need help to be able to understand and

be part of solving a drinking or drug problem. Talking to a trusted adult

would be a good way to seek assistance which may be found in the

school nurse, family doctor or in youth groups and community associa-



Alcohol or drug abuse in a parentAlcohol or drug abuse in a parent

Odalisa12 years, BelizeMy Dad, although I love him verymuch, does not live with my family.He fell into the vicious grip of crackcocaine, which severely changedhis mentality and behaviour sevenyears ago. I noticed my fatherarriving late from work frequentlyand always criticizing and scream-ing at my mother. My dad startedto pawn our household items, mymothers personal items and eventook the money my grandfathergave me at times. I was part of thismiserable life for about two yearsuntil my mother decided to sepa-rate from my Dad. I was relieved,yet so sad. I desperately wantedto help him.After the separation, my motherwent to counselling, which I alsoattended. Through these sessions Iunderstood that my Dads addictionwas an illness. This drug made himfeel in control and dominant for awhile, but then he lost control andbecame a slave to the drug. Thisaddiction made him change hisattitude towards us. My loveableDad became a tyrant, a franticmiserable person always getting

himself into brawls. He became verylazy and would shun everyone whilethinking that everyone was out toharm or persecute him. Anytime Ihad the opportunity to speak withhim I would encourage him to goto a rehabilitation centre to curehimself. My prayers wereanswered six months later. MyDad found help and was sent to arehabilitation centre where hespent about three months. He isnot completely cured but at leasthe is not in the deep dungeonas before. He now has a job andlives with my grandmother. Hewill never be the person he was,but I feel my prayers, my goodintentions and my boundless lovehelped my Dad to find the mean-ing of life.The experience with my Dad hastaught me so much which will pre-pare me to face the future. I learnedthat people are so sensitive and theyare not always what they seem atfirst. I believe no one should criticizeor condemn any one if they havenot walked in the personsshoes. I also know that love heals!

Yarathava8 years, Thailand


Bibbie (continued)But somehow one day things allchanged. My father started drink-ing alcohol and soon became analcoholic. Everything about himchanged. He didn't care about theway he looked, was often in a badmood, and would say mean wordshe'd never use. He ate less, lost alot of weight, and would drivearound in his car drinking all nightand coming home late. Sometimeshe would wake us up in the middleof the night for no reason. My fatherkept on drinking and what I felt forhim before gradually changed. I wasangry with him all the time evenwhen he told me that he lovedme. I started to avoid him in publicplaces because I was afraid he'dembarrass me. I couldn't bringmyself to say hello or give him a hug. At home I would stay in myroom and not talk to him.My first year in high school cameand my father was still drinking. Ishut him off totally from my world.I felt like I didn't need him anymore.Sometimes when he was drunk hewould tell me that he loved me andthat he was sorry for everything andwhat had become of him. It alwaysmade me cry so hard for eventhough I was being so harsh to myfather, I always had that soft spotfor him for I loved him so dearly.I began to understand that he had a problem that he couldn'thelp. Alcoholism had taken overhis life and we were not helpinghim overcome it. We just let himgo by without a single thoughtthat he needed our help the most

even though he didn't admit it. Iunderstood very well that alcoholismwas a disease that mined not onlythe life of the alcoholic but also thelives of many who loved him,especially the family.One day, my father told us that hewas going to stop drinking for good.We were so happy to hear this andvery eager to help him. He stoppeddrinking but it wasn't that easy forhim. You see, after many years ofconsuming alcohol, his body andhis mind depended on it. So it wasvery hard to stop all of a sudden. Heoften went to Behavioural Health forhelp and even joined the Al-Anon,which he graduated after six weeks.A few months after his withdrawal,he started telling my mom thatsomeone was after him and that hedid not want to live in this worldanymore. He was depressed. Thenext morning, my younger brotherwoke me up because something hadhappened to my father. I was soconfused and afraid, hoping that hewas okay. But to my total shock andsadness, he was sitting on the floorand leaning against the wall soakedwith blood. I felt like my heart hadbeen torn to pieces. I cried so hardand I felt so lonely. I could notbelieve that he had to go that wayand not in a peaceful state. My fatherwas a good man. I understand nowthat he could not have helped him-self without our help. I have learnedto respect and understand those whoare different from us in order to helpthem. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Bibbie17 years, PalauGlobal Winner of the School Contest(category 15-18 years of age)

There is no such thing as a perfectworld today, not even a perfectfamily. Each and every family hasproblems of their own which I thinkis pretty normal. They go throughgood and bad times but as a fam-ily they overcome and survive theirfears and problems. I was born toa loving father and mother. I havetwo brothers and a sister and I amthe second to the oldest. Life waspretty much okay. Both my parentsworked and we went to school. Theywere always there to help and dis-cipline us. We were a happy family.

Elena16 years, CyprusI am a girl about sixteen years old,who suffers from a problem thathas coloured everything in my life.I am an adult child of an alcoholicperson, my father. I had to grow upquickly because my father used tobeat me up a lot after having drunk.My alcoholic father affected me,especially in my teenage years. It affected both my family life andthe life with my friends because I feltlonely, depressed, isolated, awayfrom anything and everybody andexcessively guilty. I was judgingmyself without mercy. The guiltId felt over my fathers drinkingfor as long as I could rememberhad become intolerable.

Never in my life had I expressedmyself, not because I didnt wantto but because I wasnt allowed toexpress my feelings unless he foundthem acceptable. I wanted to finda solution to this problem. I learnedmany things in a workshop and thewhole experience helped me toface the problem of my alcoholicfather. I may have lost both loveand security, self-esteem, trust, theability to express my feelings andfirst and foremost my childhoodbut I think that all these passedand I have to go on with my life.

Nestor17 years, PhilippinesMy father was an alcoholic andthe memories wound me. His need for alcohol controlledhim. I was ashamed of him. Hisdrinking caused us to reject himand this caused him to drink evenmore. That my father has brokenfree from the chains that held himcaptive all his life is testament of one reality: Man is capable ofchange, great change at that.

I abele8 years, Lithuania



It is normal to feel nervous sometimes when facing fresh challenges such

as a new school, new friends, travel to a new place or when dealing with

an illness or a stay in hospital. Talking with parents or friends can help

to lessen this nervousness. Finding out more about what the experience

may be like helps to make the situation more comfortable. Sometimes

this normal nervousness can become more serious and then it may be

called anxiety. Anxiety can also be a serious problem resulting from a

traumatic experience, such as, witnessing an accident, the death of a

person, being involved in a fight, et cetera. When a young person feels

very anxious they may re-experience the original frightening experience

and suffer from sleep disturbance or have problems concentrating.

Sometimes, when this anxiety happens it can be helped by talking with

others, especially parents. However, sometimes there is a need for profes-

sional advice. It is not a good idea to try to treat nervousness or anxiety

by taking alcohol, drugs or medication without the advice of a doctor.



Adam15 years, HungaryIt was a grey monotonous day.Heavy drizzle filled the air andsprinkled everything that lay bareon the cheerless streets. The sunshied away from showing itselfthrough the clouds, allowing butthe odd ray to reach the groundstill dozing at midday. Fog envelopedthe streets like a menacing deluge.The continuous clatter of the bustamed into quiet thuds along thegravel road. The world seemed souniform through its window, alwaysthe same frames running before myeyes.There was only one element of thisscene that grabbed me. It was ayoung girl and a lady next to her.The two of them were seated inthe front row of the bus. The girlstared rigidly into empty space. Thewoman beside her was her mother.She kept stroking the girls hand andtalking to her: Itll be all right. Wellmake it there. Dont worry, Ill lookafter you and never let you down.Dont worry. Dont worry.Momentarily a sign of life flickeredin the dark jail, but then her facereverted to its petrified traits andbecame as sullen as the landscapearound them. It was touching tosee them like that. The child madethe odd gesture of recognizing some

of the things around her, but thenher expressive features wouldbecome void of all life just likebefore.A few metres from the bus stop, themother tried to help the girl to herfeet. She almost made it but themoment she let go of her, the girlfell back onto the seat. The ladydespaired. She muttered to herself:This is where we get off. Oh, Lord,help us! But the child could notget off. Her mother tried again,her eyes full of tears. She tensedher muscles, gritted her teeth andlifted her daughter. She almost toreher coat in her desperate effort tolift her child. The lifeless body sud-denly filled with a spurt of energyand the girl made it to her feet onher own. Bashfully, the lady lookedaround. You could tell that thepeoples pitying gaze bothered her.She ran her hand down the sleeveof her coat and led her daughteraway. The girl held onto her motherthe way one clings to life. I thoughtshe would never let goFollowing this exhausting effort, theygot off the bus and wandered off. Asthe window next to me had slightlycleared, I was able to follow thetwo hugging figures for a long timeas they walked off into infinity


All people can think, learn new things and remember what they learned.

Some people can do this faster than others. However, there are some

children and adults who have great difficulty in doing this and are much

slower. They may have mental retardation or learning disabilities. These

problems may develop during the growth of the unborn baby or could

occur due to a major illness in early childhood. These children should

not be regarded as abnormal or bad. In fact, these children may have

some very special skill, a pleasant personality or a kind heart. What they

need is our special attention and some additional help, so that they can

do their best. We need to include them in our usual activities. It will

enrich their lives, as well as ours.


Mental retardationMental retardation Jae-Young17 years, Republic of KoreaA man named Kim lives in myneighbourhood. He has develop-mental delay. As a young boy, I had no way of understandingthe meaning of this term. I wasmerely happy and thankful that a person bigger and older than mewould play with me. However, asI learned the meaning of the wordsdevelopmental delay, my friendsand I began to ignore this man whoalways smiled delightfully at us.One day on the street I saw anelderly lady carrying a heavy load.Everyone, including myself, wasjust passing by with pretence ofbusiness. But when I heard a voicepoorly articulating I will help youcarry that load, I had to lookback. On looking back, I foundKim, looking foolish as ever butwith such a radiant smile. At thatmoment I had to rethink the mean-ing of developmental delay that of Kim who, despite hislimited thinking capabilities, wasliving with a childs pure heart andwhose action preceded thinking inhelping others. I began rebukingmyself.I doubt that public opinion wouldbe different from mine.

Our society generally views thosepeople whose normal mentalgrowth has been stunted withcondescension. In describing theircondition, we outwardly use theterms such as developmentaldelay or mental retardationbut inwardly think of names likestupid or retard. I believethat time has come for a change.

Htaike16 years, MyanmarI have a friend in my neighbour-hood. She is mentally retardedsince she was born. I really feelsorry for her and I wondered whydo people act like that to such anice and innocent person. I want-ed to make friends with her but I was worried about what othersmight say if I do this. Finally I fol-lowed my heart and opened thefriendship door between us. Fromthe day I became friends with her,her bitter feelings started to fadeaway.Despite the bitterness of otherchildren, she gets support and lovefrom both parents and teachers. Allshe needs is love. You should touchthem when they are upset. Yourtouch will say: You are not alone,I want to help. So, not just teach-ers and parents but also the wholecommunity should devote (itself to)mental health.


Elizabeth13 years, SamoaDo you find it hard to make newfriends or learn new things? Doyou ever feel out of place or thatyou dont belong? Imagine if youhad all these feelings with noknowledge of why you were dif-ferent. Imagine seeing the worldthrough the eyes of someone whois mentally challenged. I speak fromexperience when I say that every-one regardless of mental capacityhas the right to be treated as ahuman being and not to be judgedby their behaviour. The mentallychallenged have no outlet forexpressing fear, anger, sadness orfrustration. They dont respond theway we think they should and sowe tend to put them in a categoryor group in which we excludethem from others and think ofthem as different. They are, butwe shouldnt make it more seriousthan it really is. Why is it that I amexpected to go to school but mylittle brother who is slow at learn-ing, or as we put it, mentally chal-lenged, is not accepted in school?

If I have the right to go to schooland get an education then soshould he. If I have the right to par-ticipate in sports, so should he. If Iam able to walk into a public areaand not be stared at or made funof then so should he. Not only dowe take away their privileges andopportunities, we dont give themenough attention or help when itcomes to living a normal life. Theyare shunned and hidden away sothat no one can see them. Parentsneed to be educated on how toget help for their children. Thegovernment needs to take a standand make it a priority to see thattheir needs are met. We need toSTOP EXCLUSION and DARE TOCARE.

Andrew16 years, United Republic of TanzaniaI have an experience of a personsuffering from mental retardationsince I lived with such a personfor two years. At first I was afraidof him because he was like a newperson in my life, he was unableto do anything even to eat by him-self. But after six months I felt verysorry for him after he broke his legwhen he was going to specialschool. In helping him I got a lessonthat mentally ill people need specialcare and help from the whole soci-ety. In addition to that we have tofight for peace, to show our kind-ness to them, sharing their ideasas well as to make strong friend-ship with them so they cant feellonely.

Eszter10 years, Romania(translated from French)Ion is in our class. He is mentallyretarded. It was very hard for himto write, count and read. Theteacher explained to us that thisboy is different from us and needsour help and much patience andlove.At the beginning of the first yearwe were all vaccinated. We wereall afraid of the injection and Ionwas the only one who did not crywhen he was vaccinated. Hebecame the hero of our class andall his classmates then wanted tohelp him. Previously he was afraidto go to the toilet during the breakbecause of the boys who bulliedhim. But since then the boys dontleave him on his own anymoreduring recreation. Whenever its ourturn to be in charge, we help him.During gymnastics we also taketurns to look after him and includehim in the group. We dont getupset if we lose a game because ofhim. We help and encourage him.His smile reminds me of other men-tally handicapped children who donot get any help. Many such chil-dren are sent to special schools, faraway from their parents withoutanyone to hold their hand, or tocaress them on the cheek. I think that without Ion our groupwould not be as good as it is.

Simona9 years, Lithuania


Jessica15 years, BelizeThere is a guy Gregory who goesto our high school. I found outrecently that from birth to agethirteen he was perfectly normaluntil a branch fell from a tree andhit him on his head, leaving himpermanently retarded. There weredays when I would engross myselfin teasing Gregory. Then came theMental Health AwarenessProgramme. I took the opportu-nity to see if what we were beingtold was actually true. I sat downand for the first time in my life, I chatted with Gregory. I began to see him in his true light, not as a mentally ill person, but as areal person. What I found changedmy entire misdirected perceptionand possibly my life.Gregory related to me that he hasdreams, big dreams. He wants tofinish school, get married, havechildren and get a job: just like all of us do. Even as I write I feelthe tears welling up inside my eyes.I found out he cries when he isteased, his biological mother doesnot want anything to do with him,and he begs for his food and clothes.His greatest desire is to once moreenjoy what it feels like to be in areal family where one feels love, asense of belonging and security.

It hurts us when we are insultedor rejected once in a while. Canyou imagine how it feels to live ina constant atmosphere of insultand rejection, never getting theopportunity to participate in asoccer match or table game?I have made up my mind that ifno one else loved and cared forGregory, he would always have asister in me. When he needs some-one to lean on, I will be there. Fearhas kept me apart from mentallyill people for a long time. My fear,I believe, was motivated by igno-rance and neglect, or maybe I wasjust plain selfish. Whatever thereason, I now realize that we allare flesh, we each possess a heartthat is always open to receive loveand appreciation.

Vimal8 years, Singapore



Some children who are otherwise good at doing things and seem just

like everybody else may at certain times appear to faint or make unusual

movements. Teachers, parents or others may say these children are having

fits when they see this happen. In fact, they should be called epileptic

seizures. This type of medical condition is called epilepsy. It is quite

common for children and young adults to have epilepsy. Often, we do

not notice it even when a person suffers from epilepsy because medicine

helps to stop the seizures. It must be remembered that a person with

epilepsy is not handicapped and is able to do all the things the rest of

us can do.

Stephanie14 years, SeychellesMy aunt to this day still has fits,and each time she has one, sever-al of her brain cells are dam-aged her nervous system hasbeen badly affected. She canalmost no longer recognize myfather, who is her favourite personin the world as she used to say. Iam deeply saddened by the situa-tion she is in, because she cannotappreciate all the good thingsaround her all that much. We donot know what may lie in storefor her for the future, but now wespend as much time as we canwith her, and try to give her thebest treatment possible.

Nestor16 years, PhilippinesI always looked forward to spend-ing my summer vacation in therural areas because of the freshscent of air, the flying of kites,fishing expeditions and otheractivities. Until one day, when mycousin had an epilepsy or patol.The seizure lasted only for a fewseconds but his agony seemed alifetime. I can still recall how hewas tied to the bedpost and wasgiven amulets to protect him fromevil forces. Late at night I heardhim crying. I pitied him so muchthat I went to his room and untiedhim and told jokes just to ease hispain of loneliness and helplessness.Instead of seeking for medicalattention they are hidden fromthe public to prevent humiliationleaving the victims with inappro-priate care leading to deteriorationof health. Lets chase away themyth that mental and brain disor-ders are caused by evil spirits orforces.

Natalia16 years, Kyrgyzstan(translated from Kyrgyzstani)In many religious communitieschildren suffering from seizuresare considered to be possessed bythe devil or evil spirits. Healthychildren can be very cruel towardschildren somehow different fromthem. They avoid such children,keep them locked away or beatthem up. And who is to blamethat among us there (are) somany people suffering and tor-menting? We can turn awayclose our eyes and simply ignorethese people, but the problem willstill be there and one cant getaway from it.

Mwanzia9 years, Kenya



Schizophrenia, although not common, may often begin during teenage

years. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder with a biological cause. It involves

disturbances in thinking. It is not caused by bad parenting, fright, or other

non-biological reasons that people have used to explain it. It is also not

correct to think of schizophrenia, as it was in the past, as a split brain

or dual personality. When someone has schizophrenia they may some-

times behave or think in a strange or unusual fashion. For instance, the

person may think someone is trying to harm them or may believe in

something that is not real. They may also see or hear things that other

people cannot. Often these young people do not want to go out with

their friends any more or spend a lot of time alone.

Schizophrenia can now best be treated with medication known as

antipsychotics and community-based services. Early treatment and family

support are essential for improving the chance of recovery. This is why it

is a good idea to talk to the family doctor as soon as possible. It is also

important to continue treatment for long enough periods of time. It is

usually beneficial to try to continue with school work and other plans

with the support of family and friends, and with help from mental health

professionals in the community. Both the family and the young person

may need a lot of help, but with patience, care and support their lives

can be improved.


Inese15 years, Latvia(translated from Latvian)I am the sister of a schizophrenic.If my classmates find out, whatwill happen to me? People are soprejudiced and merciless. For five years my brother hasbeen living in a world of his own.All his love, hopes and dreams arein the past. We are all thats left his kin. Since he became ill, mybrother no longer has friends. Itsstrange how when you have somebad luck, youre left with nothing,not even pity. The doctors diag-nosis is merciless: SCHI- ZO PHRE NIA! These sounds bythemselves dont say much, butput them together and they makeup a human-mind destructive dis-ease.Before schizophrenia took over hismind, my brother wrote poems.He wrote desperately, as if he knewthat later he would not have any-thing to say the snow is youruncried tears. These are the words

he wrote as he faded into thedarkness of schizophrenia neverto return. Is there no return?Today only his lines of poetry talkto meI am healthy and need to help mybrother. I have read in a book thatcomplete recoveries in psychiatryare known. I hope my brother willnot have to return to the psychiatrichospital where behind barred win-dows, cries and despair reign. Ifonly this world had the medicinesto help him recover! If I had money,I would build a big, spacious brightbuilding. On the walls would bepaintings and music would be quietly played in the clinic. Thiswould heal the injured souls.


Thi Hong Hanh14 years, Viet Nam(translated from Vietnamese)

She walked slowly on the road.Her unkempt hair flowing on hershoulders was shaggy like a crowsnest. Her complexion was dark andpeeling. Her bedraggled clothes,torn in some places, were very dirty.Suddenly, she burst into laughter,and laughed, laughed unceasingly.She crawled on the road to laugh.Many people turned round to lookat her. Some smacked their tonguesin a gesture of compassion andhurried away. They tried to avoidher as if avoiding a leper. Someshowed their anger. They said:What a lousy luck! Hardly had I gone out of my house when Imet a mad girl. Today she waslucky, because the mischievouschildren who usually teased herand threw stones at her were notthere. I stopped, and anxiouslylooked at her. I wanted to dosomething to alleviate her suffer-ings, to help her to escape thatlife of half a human being andhalf an animal. I wanted to helpher, but I stayed there motionless,not knowing what to do. Once sheused to be my idol. She was of thesame year as I. She was pretty, hada beautiful voice and was good atstudy. She had brought to her class,her school and her town dozensof prizes, large or small. In thosedays I never saw her joy. I neversaw her smile. I saw her study allthe day, study and study. Once shegot mark seven. For me it was

nothing extraordinary. But for her,that meant a beating that turnedher black and blue. She continuedto study until her sight weakened,until she became mad.Life was getting increasingly civi-lized. Everyone said so. However,the number of people sufferingfrom mental diseases was increas-ing with every passing day, chieflyamong children. Children are thefuture of the country. A new cen-tury is opened up and our luggage,on the road beset with obstacles,is knowledge. That is why so manyparents have forced their childrento imprison themselves in theirstudies, having no time for enter-tainment. Moreover, they are readyto use the rod to punish their chil-dren if they have bad marks. Thoseparents, after all, want the bestfor their children. But their actionshave a counter-effect. Their childrenbecome fearful, depressed, evensuffer from mental disorders.What a pity!I entreat the world of grown-upsto open their hearts, understandand protect the world of children.And as for me and you, what shallwe do to help our friends who arein those pitiful circumstances?

Lauma9 years, Latvia



Everyone is unique in some way. Some people behave strangely or act

differently at times and we may have a hard time believing they should

be part of society. When we think a person is so different that we do not

want to be near them or wish them to be excluded we are stigmatizing

them. Stigma is giving someone a label that says that we think they

are not worthy because of something in their behaviour or appearance

that is disturbing to us or people in our community. This feeling usually

comes over us because we are afraid or do not understand. Stigma needs

to be reduced because it keeps us from knowing the good qualities of

people, and it makes the stigmatized person feel terrible.

Borislav16 years, Bulgaria(translated from Bulgarian)

Many countries governments iso-lated people with physical or men-tal disabilities away from the eyesof society. During the developmentof human-kind, we people havetried to ignore the problems and toincrease them instead of findingsolutions.According to me the children withmental problems do not need superequipment and modern buildingsas much as they need contact,communication and connectionwith us. We pretend to treat themas humans and feel concerned forthem, but at the same time manyof us would like never to seethem.A small number of people knowwhat the sensation is when a childwho cannot speak, neither see,nor get out of his bed, tells youhis name and asks about yours. Ihad the feeling that little Dannyhad been waiting the whole of hisshort life for somebody to sit onhis bed, to stroke his little headand tickle his little belly, tellinghim something funny and playful.At that moment Danny who wasknown to be motionless and muteput the brightest smile on his faceand that brought tears to my eyes.

Ahmed17 years, Jordan(translated from Arabic)As a result of simple analysis andscientific accuracy mental illness isnow considered like any other ill-ness, such as fever, a cold, dia-betes, etc. As members of society,we must stimulate the desire toovercome this unrelenting, tyran-nical illness. How? Not by ironictalk or by malicious gossip but byproviding patients with propercare and dealing with them in anatural, normal manner, withoutgetting caught in the cocoon ofimages painted by unsophisticatedminds

Sayasan9 years, Laos


Shu-Wei14 years, ChinaGlobal Winner of the School Contest(category 10-14 years of age)(translated from Chinese)

I share a desk with a classmatewho walks alone in the playground.Overcome by strong feelings ofinferiority, he confines himself to a restricted personal space. He isunwilling to interact with others,and others are unwilling to inter-act with him. Mental illness hascaused him to lose all his friends.He often goes off by himself andis hostile to the world around him.While returning home one day, Isaw him squatting alone by someflowery shrubs trying to help aninjured butterfly. I was dumbfoundedand amazed to find that he wasso compassionate! Wasnt he hos-tile to the whole world? I couldnthelp but run over and help him withthe butterfly. He glanced gratefullyat me and said Thank you! Atthat moment, I felt his trust and forthe first time experienced a mutualaffinity towards him.I have the distinct feeling that mydesk mate is like the injured butter-fly. He needs others to rescue him,to help his spirit fly!

Thomas13 years, KiribatiFrom my point of view the mentalhealth of any nation is a veryimportant topic which refers notonly to the doctors and healthorganizations, but to us theteenagers, who do not suffer frommental illness. There is a lack of care for (mental-ly ill) people; we need to improveour knowledge about people withdifferent mental disorders. Theyneed protection because unfortu-nately nowadays many people stilldo not realize the importance ofthis problem and think that it is ofno consequence. I would like to send my regards tothe people with mental disordersall over the world and to tell themsimply: Do not give up, you arenot forgotten. To those whotreat sick people like nobody I willsay: Change your attitudetowards those who suffer frommental illness, treat them withmore consideration because thetruth is that they are part of usnot a menace.

Brittany9 years, Samoa

Mona17 years, FijiNot all human beings are alike inthis world. People differ from eachother in many ways such as physi-cal build, colour and mentality. Thecauses of mental illness are many.We tend to forget that people whohave mental illness usually suffer agreat deal. We can show our careand affection for mentally ill peo-ple in many ways.I have a cousin who is sufferingfrom mental illness. We have madearrangements to put my cousin ina normal school. She is very happyat school. The question of sendingher to a special school does not arise.I believe that if normal children are

allowed to mix with mentally illchildren, they begin to understandthem better and they do not haveany sort of ill feelings for them.To conclude, we should developunderstanding of mental illness.This will make us better able toaccept and feel comfortable withpeople who are mentally ill. Schoolsare the best place to integrate peo-ple who appear or behave differ-ently. As a result, schools shouldinitiate new efforts for promotingmental health education in theschools health curriculum, so thatchildren like my cousin can live anormal life.

1. Im so sad. I wish I had friends. 2. Nobody likes me. Im so lonely. 3. Get away you mental kid! Hee!

Hee! 4. Shes a retard dont let her play. 5 What if that was you? 6. Let her play. Shes a human being.

7. Shes a stupid head. 8. She does not know how to play! 9. Im glad you are my friend. Please

forgive them. 10. Sorry for being mean with you.

Will you be my friend?11. Sorry I said youre a stupid head.








910 11

Hodos8 years, Hungary


Almaa7 years, Fiji


all 15 years, PortugalAt school in February I suddenlylooked and saw a girl whom I hadnever seen before. I approachedslowly to know who she was andwhat she was doing there. Little bylittle I was able to talk to Ana andknow she had classes in the roomjust next to mine. Suddenly I sawmyself holding a schoolbag whichwas not mine and hand in handwe went to classroom E7. Lo andbehold! In that room there wereother children whom I had neverseen before in school. I was curi-ous. And do you know why? Anawas nice, shy, gentle and seemedvery sweet. Would they all be likethat? Why were they there?

The teachers explained to us thatthey worked with students whohad mental problems andbecause of that they could notattend normal classes. It wasindeed a different world! Whyarent these children together withus in the same class, with moreteachers attending of course, butall learning with one another tobe different and equal, students ofthe same school, inhabitants ofthe same city, citizens of the samecountry, men and women of thesame world. After all we couldlearn so much with Ana and thestudents in that classroom.

Alexandra Maria, ClaudiaSofia, Maria carina,Maria Ines, Maria Laura


School Use

The pictures, stories and narrative material in this book may be used inschools and other settings for the purposes of initiating group discus-sions about stigma and mental disorders. The materials are organized inan order which suggests an increasing understanding with age of thevarious concepts.

It is important if used as part of an exercise in the classroom, or for awritten assignment as described below, that the teacher or group leaderunderstand that some participants may be sensitive to the examples thathave been chosen or to the material discussed. No child should beforced to participate. If a child has a noticeable reaction theteacher/leader should take them aside as unobtrusively as possible todiscuss the childs concern. If necessary the advice of a professional suchas a school counsellor, or school mental health consultant should besought. In some countries the school administration or parents associa-tion should be informed before the materials are used.

Group Discussion: It is suggested that each mental health concernidentified in this book be treated as a separate topic. Given the ageof the group, the appropriate story and/or picture may be used asthe starting point for the discussion. For younger children, the teachermay prefer to only use one of the drawings. The teacher or groupleader may then use or modify for use the narrative material. Thematerials that are presented can be complemented by an outsidespeaker who could represent an affected individual, or by a profes-sional who can enhance understanding of the topic.

Written Assignment: Depending on the age of the group, the bookcan be used to design assignments that focus on citizenship, inclusionor stigma. The materials can be used in association with a generalhealth literacy module to provide the basis for a written assignmentor, as noted above, as the basis for a discussion in the context ofoverall health literacy educational programmes.

Community UseThis book can be used as part of a public education campaign directedat reducing stigma or raising mental health awareness. The book can be:

The focal point for library presentations

Used in families for home discussion or as a resource

Distributed by paediatricians, mental health programmes, churches orother groups to heighten awareness about child and adolescent mentalhealth concerns.

Mental Health Clinician Use

The material in this book can be used in office/clinic/hospital settings asa focus for discussions. It can help patients to discuss the reactions theyfeel from others and aid in discussing how these reactions can be dealtwith. The stories generally have positive outcomes.

It is suggested that before using this book, the adult preparing a discus-sion or lesson with young persons should undertake some backgroundresearch on the topic(s). This book is not intended to provide a completemedical understanding of mental health or related disorders and the adultshould not feel that he or she must have all the answers to open a healthydiscussion with their children or students. However, the adult should beprepared to appropriately direct the young persons to other resourcessince it is likely that a lively discussion of these issues could open somenew questions or concerns. It is recommended that the adult consult theavailable social services, a mental health professional or general physicianfor additional background information and, in particular, locate the servicesavailable in their community to which they may wish to refer a youngadult who is seeking mental health assistance. It may be useful to invitean expert from the community to give factual information during anydiscussion.

It is most important in any group discussion to be sensitive to the fact thatsome young people may respond strongly to what is being discussed forpersonal reasons. If this is the case the discussion should be wound upquickly and the person given the opportunity to speak with the leader oranother resource person to discuss their reaction. In all cases, any discus-sion that leads to intense dialogue should be brought to a careful conclu-sion so that the young people do not leave the discussion feeling overlyanxious, or otherwise upset. The offer of help, for any who may want it,should be made after the discussion.



The child and adolescent mental health programme of the Departmentof Mental Health and Substance Dependence serves as a focal point forinformation gathering, information dissemination, programme support,global planning and policy development.

The programme seeks to balance an understanding of and focus onmental disorders with efforts to support prevention and early interven-tion. It thereby seeks to help children to lead a healthy life withoutexperiencing the effects of mental disorder. This effort is fairly urgent asin many countries of the developing world, over 50% of the populationis under 15.

WHO child and adolescent programme initiatives:

Global Plan for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.This is an ongoing effort involving the WHO Regions in attempts togain a consensus about treatment and prevention priorities. This planfocuses on gathering the best available information about clinical dis-orders and resources.

Atlas.Following the successful development of an Atlas for documentinggeneral mental health resources world-wide, an Atlas of child andadolescent treatment capacity, treatment processes, and policy is now underway. (Atlas: Mental Health Resources in the World, 2001Reference: WHO/NMH/MSD/MDP/01.1)

Child and adolescent mental health policy guidance module. This guide for policy development provides countries with informationon current issues and step-by-step approaches to establishing qualityservices within a policy framework. The effort complements the adultmental health policy guidance module.

Global child and adolescent mental health training. The program seeks to encourage and support the training of childand adolescent mental health professionals in order to provide thenecessary resources for treatment in developing countries.

International conference on Caring for Children and Adolescentswith Mental Disorders.Following a number of projects on the provision of quality care, thisconference planned by WHO, Geneva in January 2002 will representa milestone in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Conference on Marketing to Children and Youth.WHOs concern with marketing to youth has led to the developmentof an initiative that will culminate in a planned conference which willconsider current marketing efforts and seek to better understand howmarketing health can be achieved. The conference results will havepolicy implications.

Consultation.The child and adolescent mental health programme provides consultationboth within and outside WHO to countries, NGOs and other interestedgroups. The emphasis is on the dissemination of knowledge and reci-procal learning about programmes that are effective.

Who child and adolescentmental health programmeWHO child and adolescent mental health programme

Ma Thiri Nanda7 years, Myanmar


The efforts of a great number of people came together to make the GlobalSchool Contest a success. The contest was conceived by Dr Myron Belfer,Dr Itzhak Levav and Mrs Linda Merieau. The contest and all World HealthDay 2001 activities were overseen by Dr Benedetto Saraceno. The contestthemes and procedures were reviewed and supported by many colleaguesin WHO Headquarters and Regional Offices including: Mr Franklin Apfel,Dr Caldas de Almeida, Dr Vijay Chandra, Mrs Claudia Conti-Starmark,Dr Gauden Galea, Mrs Frances Sinclair Ingles, Mr Jack Jones, Mrs MariluLingad, Dr Custodia Mandlhate, Dr Ahmad Mohit, Mrs Harsaran Pandey,Dr Viviane Rasmussen, Dr Wolfgang Rutz, Ms Michaela Schmidt, Dr SeppoSuomela and Mrs Mona Yassin. Special thanks are extended to Ms PaolaCaruso, Dr Jennifer Hillebrand, Mrs Noel Rees, Dr Inon Schenker andMrs Anne Yamada for the global coordination of the school contest.Dissemination of the school contest world-wide was facilitated by Mrs AnnaMaria Barthes, Programme Specialist, UNESCO and by the InternationalAssociation for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions.Prizes for the Global School Contest were awarded to winners by CarandAche of Switzerland and the Walt Disney Company (Europe) S.A.

The contest was realized thanks to the enthusiastic support of the WHORepresentatives and Liaison Officers and their staff in the participatingcountries. Officials of the Ministries of Health, Ministries of Education,staff of many associations, WHO Collaborating Centres and various men-tal health professionals and consumers were instrumental in putting inplace the necessary structure for bringing the contest to the attention ofschools and for judging the entries. We wish to show our appreciation toall the members of the juries in schools, in cities, on national, regionaland global level for having given of their free time to make the difficultselection of the winning entries. In several countries, the First Lady orformer First Lady graciously accepted to patron the school contest forwhich we are indebted. Our gratitude is especially extended to the teachers,principals/headmasters and students themselves for making the effort todebate the subject of mental health and perform the lessons which wereundertaken to prepare for this contest.

The national winners are recognized on the following pages. Although WHOholds the rights to reprint the drawings and stories that were submitted tothe global school contest as per the registration process, it was decided toomit the last names of the winners in order to satisfy confidentiality cri-teria which may be required in various countries.

Country Drawing category 250 word essay category 500 word essay category

Andorra Arnau B. Lara S.

Armenia Lilia P. Mariam H.

Australia Elizabeth W.

Austria Fabian E.

Belize Shannelle R., Nicole U., Odalisa A. Jessica W.Brittany M., Adrian L.

Bhutan Machi P. Thujee P. L. Tshokey N. D.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Richarda K. Selma S.

Bulgaria Veliana L. Martina L. C. Borislav A.

China Ming-qi, S. Shu-wei T. Hi-ting Z.

Cuba Lianet A., Taimi A. Morenoa F., Dorad H.

Cyprus Nickoleta F. Elena S.

Dominican Republic Lilibeth R. Neury M. B. Analiel P.Estefany B. F.

Ecuador Maribel V. C. Andrea P. Jose Luis C.

Egypt Naglaa Hussein M. E. Mohamed Samir A. Yomna Mohamed G. S.

Fiji Almaaz A. A. Ahmed Shakeel S. Mona Monika M.

Finland Enni A. Heidi N. Mia M.

France Pamla A.

Georgia Irina K. Guga G. Irakli K.Mariam K.

Germany Constanze H.

Grand Turks and Chrystal E.J.A. C. Roxandra H.Caicos Islands

Guatemala Maria Cristina G. Ana Gabriela O. R. Cindy Madelin P. L.

Guyana Basanti Darchini R. Inderpaul B.

Haiti Mber M. Jean Domique L.

Honduras Michelle S. Sofia Vannesa R.

Hungary Hodos K. Lzr H. Adm S.

India Dhruv S. Shyam S. Iyer Parvati C.

Indonesia Evelyn Livia W. Putri Arum J. R.



Country Drawing category 250 word essay category 500 word essay category

Iran (Islamic Republic of) Negar-Al-Sadat B. Y. Saba R. Somayeh Y.Zeinabellah Q.

Jamaica Gissell H. Daniel M. Gayan L. S.

Jordan Mohammad Faisal Asil Samih Jamil A. N. Ahmed Mohamed A. L. A. A. Q. Y.

Kenya Mwanzia M. June J. Brian K.

Kiribati Thomas R.

Kyrgyzstan Sardar M. Nuradil B. Natalia E. G.

Lao Peoples Democratic Sayasan M. Keomala P. Thoulakham P.Republic

Latvia Lauma L. Janis K. Inese R.

Lebanon Ali Ghanem E. Y. Sara B. Laila J.

Lithuania Simona I., Lina D., Lina V., Izabel P., Sandra V.

Malaysia Kejal H. Thye S. T.

Maldives Shabeeba A. Hammad Ahmed Shaima A.A. H.

Malta Gary M. Charlene C.

Mauritania Aminata B.

Micronesia Marleen P. Gary Dale N. B.(Federated States of)

Mongolia Togsbayar B. Jargalsaikhan G. Sukhbaatar E.

Myanmar Ma Thiri Nanda S. Ma Mie Mie L. Ma Htaike Nando O.

Nepal June Rajeshwari H.

Netherlands Antilles Xaviera J. Miriam v. L., Orquidea Isabel P.-R.

Nigeria Onuoha C.

Norway Thomas L., Martin D. T. Bjornar N., Vilde H.

Pakistan Qasim K. Sarah P. Mohammad Imtiaz M.

Palau Hea Rin J. Bernie T. Bibbie K.

Philippines Tristan Diano Z. Anton Ivan L. Y. Anne Catherin G. H., Nestor Amadeo C. P.

Country Drawing category 250 word essay category 500 word essay category

Portugal Gssica M., Patricia D., Luis Miguel P. S. Alexandra Maria de J. F., Otvio D., Andr C., Claudia Sofia d. C. M., Jaime P., Mrcio F., Fbio Maria Cerina S. R., Maria C., Ana B., Spencer C. Ins A. d. C., Maria S. M.

Republic of Korea Jae-Young L.

Republic of Moldova Florea O. Vladimir I. Tatiana L.

Romania Claudia T. Eszter A. Oana Silvia F.

Samoa Brittany F. Elizabeth M. Annie S.

Seychelles Chantale B. Stephanie B. Natasha S.

Singapore Vimal K. Lynette G. Nicholas Z.

Slovakia Katarina F. Linda L. Jana G.

Syrian Arab Republic Banah S. Dalida K.

Thailand Yarathava C. Jirawan P. Chatchai K.

Tunisia Nasem A. S. Sa'ediya E. S. Mona A. Q.

U.S. Virgin Islands Kefiyrah P.

United Republic of Tanzania Andrew M.

United States of America Aditi D.

Viet Nam Hoang Gia, N. Thi Hong Hanh, V. Thien Yen Khanh, T.

West Bank and Gaza Palsam Zidan E. N. Mahmmod Madhat A. Tahreer Ahmed A. M.

Yugoslavia Sasa V., Aleksandra S., Ivana P. Andrea M., Stefan J.

WHO Region Drawing category 250 word essay category 500 word essay category

Africa Chantale, B. Seychelles June, J. Kenya Andrew M., Tanzania

Americas Gisell H., Jamaica Neury M. B., Jessica W., BelizeDominican Republic

Eastern Mediterranean Naglaa H. M. E., Egypt Sara B., Lebanon Mohammad Imtiaz M., Pakistan

Europe Veliana L., Bulgaria Fabian E., Austria Nathalia G., Kyrgyzstan

South-East Asia Dhruv S., India* Ma Mie Mie L., Myanmar Tshokey, N. D. Bhutan

Western Pacific Ngo Hoang, G, Viet Nam Shu-wei, T., China* Bibbie K., Paulau*

*Global winners

Regional winners of the Global School Contest on Mental Health



orld Health O


DhruvDrawing produced by the global winner Dhruv Suri, 7 years, India

A collection of drawings and stories from the WHO Global School Contest on Mental Health