March 25, 2022

Today, the President of the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) Laura Simons, PhD, together with the Chairs of the Regional Interest Group of SPP, the European Pediatric Psychology Network (EPPN), Line Caes, PhD and lecturer at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and Rikard Wicksell, PhD, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden offer the following statement in response to the war in Ukraine:

Along with the world, members of the EPPN and SPP have read numerous stories and seen heartbreaking images of the war in Ukraine. And new stories are added by the day. Of particular concern is how this unprovoked and brutal attack on the Ukrainian people is causing direct and indirect harm on children’s physical, mental, and behavioral health.

One of the many concerning effects is the large group of young refugees forced to leave hospitals and health care centers where they were undergoing treatment for various medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, autism, developmental disorders, or chronic pain. Escaping war while battling a life threatening or debilitating condition is unimaginable, yet this is the reality for many children and adolescents leaving Ukraine under the worst circumstances.

As thousands of children and families are forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries, the board members of EPPN, with the support of SPP, have initiated discussions on how we can support these families.

The question is simple: How can the expertise in paediatric psychology be of service to refugees and those remaining in Ukraine, as well as to paediatric health care providers in both Ukraine and surrounding countries?

The answer, however, is far from simple. We are currently trying to assess the demands and resources that can be used to support.

We have begun to compile relevant materials including information on how to support the mental, physical, and behavioral health of refugees during both this acute phase and in the long term, guidelines regarding assessment and support for complex psychological factors impacting the wellbeing of families affected by the war, and strategies to assist health care staff through education and training. These materials can be accessed via the Resource tab!

Furthermore, given the many European countries that are currently opening their borders and their arms to the Ukrainian people, we anticipate a need to translate resources or provide support in several different languages.

On Thursday, March 24th, a first meeting was held to identify needs related to paediatric psychology as well as resources that can be made accessible by SPP and EPPN members. We welcome anyone who is able to participate in these efforts and join future meetings. Please feel free to share material or connect with us by emailing the secretary of EPPN, Lauren Potthoff, PhD, at lmpotthoff@luriechildrens.org.

Multilingual resources to support families affected by the war are available on our Resource tab!

About EPPN

The EPPN is a forum to bring together scientists and clinicians devoted to research and evidence-based health care within paediatric psychology.

MISSION

The EPPN seeks to grow awareness and utilization of Paediatric Psychology across Europe. Through seminars, conferences and outreach, the EPPN stimulates international collaboration, disseminates scientific findings, and contributes to the development of knowledge and evidence-based health care in the field of paediatric psychology.

Keep an eye out for our EPPN newsletters, webinars and other EPPN activities!

See also pedpsych.org/european-pediatric-psychology-network

KEY OBJECTIVES

The key objectives of EPPN are to promote and support

  • the growth and integration of paediatric psychology networks across Europe, including supporting countries without a local network in setting up such network
  • collaborations between paediatric psychologists in research, clinical and/or educational settings
  • training and mentorship within paediatric psychology
  • networking opportunities for clinicians to exchange experiences
  • international and interdisciplinary research
  • the growing presence of paediatric psychology online and on social media

You can read our report on the activities and achieved goals in our inaugural year 2021 here: EPPN members report_FINAL

STRATEGIC GOALS FOR 2022

  1. Identify a host country for EPPC 2023 and support the organization of EPPC 2023. In addition, to keep the momentum in 2022, organize an EPPN symposium in early summer or fall of 2022.
  2. Building up our membership numbers across Europe.
  3. Continue building the infrastructure of EPPN.

During our strategic meeting in January, we identified two key targets for 2022 in addition to the goals mentioned above.

  • First, we aim for EPPN to support paediatric psychologists in countries where local organizations may not yet exist. We envision EPPN supporting psychologists within their own countries in creating internal networks and assisting in the creation and promotion of activities at the local level.
  • Second, we aim to expand our objectives and initiatives within EPPN to include more opportunities for training and mentorship. EPPN aims to connect mentors and mentees across Europe and North America as well as introduce an offering of trainee-specific activities.

In support of anyone affected by the war in Ukraine, we have also compiled a list of useful resources, which can be freely accessed via the Resource tab at the top of this website.

If you have any suggestions, feedback or comments, please contact us at info@europedpsych.com

On behalf of the EPPN board,

Line and Rikard

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