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In Europe, increasing numbers of children and adolescents seek mental health support and services are overburdened. At the same time, needs of children are often neglected when parents seek help in adult services.

Growing up in adverse situations is a well-known risk for childhood mental health problems and underachievement in adulthood. Hardships bear on the mental health and functioning of parents, teachers and other adults important to children and often reflect on children’s wellbeing, mental health, school engagement and achievement. Fortunately, knowledge base of understanding families and children living in adverse situations is growing rapidly. Research shows that development of child and family resilience is a dynamic process involving the whole ecological environment, which, as such, provides opportunities for prevention and promotion.

Let’s Talk about Children (LTC) is a short evidence-based child-centered psychosocial intervention to promote mental health of children and prevent intergenerational transmission of problems by identifying strengths, resources and everyday solutions for children, parents, and their social network. LTC can be provided by a range of health, social care and education professionals. The LTC approach builds on research and development activities initiated by prof. Tytti Solantaus based at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

The three-year LetsTalk project aims at dissemination and implementation of the LTC model in eight European countries by local trainings of LTC Practitioners. The implementation of the project builds on the needs in each site, and thus differs from country to country. Project actions either aim to promote positive parenting in families in vulnerable situations, such as parents in mental health services or reception centres for refugees and asylum seekers, or take a universal approach by implementing LTC in the primary and secondary school setting, thus providing a tool for teachers to better understand the psychosocial needs of their pupils and their families.  

Implementation is supported by raising awareness among decision makers and professionals on the need to support children and by providing continued supervision of the trained LTC Practitioners. Sustainability and further dissemination of the LTC model is achieved by training of LTC Trainers for each participating country. A sustainability plan for going to scale in uptake of the LTC intervention will be made by the lead partner in each country, and efforts will be made to include LTC in local, regional and national mental health policies. The project is supported by a continuous process evaluation.

The Let’s Talk about Children in Europe project is co-ordinated by the research and social innovation platform INVEST of University of Turku. MIELI is responsible for dissemination in Finland.

Let’s Talk about Children in Europe is funded by the European Union EU4Health programme.

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