Rita Tristancho, director of aid programs for SCS, spoke at the opening conference of the conference
The meeting organized by UNICEF brings together professionals from different sectors involved in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The SCS has recently published the ‘Health Care Protocol for Migrant Minors’, which considers the specific needs of both the physical and mental health of the migrant pediatric population during their arrival and stay in the archipelago.
Rita Tristancho, General Director of Assistance Programs of the Canary Islands Health Service, participated this Wednesday in the opening of the ‘Conference on Mental Health and Migrant Children’ to be held until this Thursday in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Organized by UNICEF, the meeting aims to be a space for reflection, learning and collaboration for professionals and managers from different sectors involved in the humanitarian care of migrant minors. During his speech at the opening of the conference, the Director General of Assistance Programs of SCS recalled the main resources and health services available to guarantee the care of these minors in the Canary Islands.
In this regard, he indicated that the SCS works to provide universal assistance throughout the Canary Islands, taking into account the individual circumstances of minors and specified that this includes assistance to ‘asymptomatic African migrants under the age of 15’. There are protocols for ‘recommendations for , ‘Gynecological and Obstetric Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Women in Overseas Processes’; and ‘Health Care Protocol for Migrant Minors (Childhood on the Move)’.
Protocol ‘Childhood on the Move’
Rita Tristancho explained that the health care protocol for migrant minors ‘Childhood on the Move’, recently published by SCS’s General Directorate of Support Programs, represents a reference framework for health care for minors, both with and without, regardless of their origin or immigration status.
The Protocol presents a comprehensive and transversal approach, and considers the specific needs of migrant minors at all stages, upon arrival and during their stay in the archipelago. The document also focuses on the diverse physical and mental health needs that this group presents, shaped by experiences in countries of origin including the health system, their migrant transit and living conditions in the community of reception.
Regarding mental health care for children on the move, Rita Tristancho recalled that the document states that migrant status includes the presence of high levels of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, as well as drug use, A multidisciplinary approach is therefore necessary when providing mental health care and intervention for these minors.
The General Director of Support Programs highlighted the need to separate general responses within the childhood migrant process from mental health networks to those requiring specific approaches and specified that child and adolescent mental health care is delivered within the framework of the health service. The network is made up of a different nature, multi-professional teams and tools of intra- and intersectoral coordination.
Regarding the process and care of minors, he explained that first assessments are done in family care units (UAFs) or professional care units (UAPs) in primary care centres, and they take into account various aspects, such as: Signs, psychosocial risk factors, and signs of psychopathology. Based on the assessment, people are referred for follow-up from primary care (standardized or narrow) or child and adolescent mental health units for specialized assessment by a multidisciplinary team of these tools.
Depending on specific needs, some minors may require intervention from other units of the mental health network such as Early Care Units, Children-Youth Day Hospitals, or Child-Youth Psychiatry Brief Admission Units. Similarly, cases of migrant minors with problems of toxic consumption (above 14 years of age) will be taken care of in the Drug Dependency Care Unit (UAD) of the region.
Coordination and Multi-Professional Care
Rita Tristancho defended that mental health networks as well as internal coordination with other health instruments and other sectors such as social services, education or justice, in order to guarantee comprehensive care taking into account the needs of migrant minors with mental health Is necessary. Problem.
Likewise, they affirm that the aim of health care should be to assess common feelings and reactions within the migrant process in childhood, and when a specific intervention is necessary on the part of the mental health system and other agencies caring for migrant minors.
In this sense, they recalled that mental health is a basic human right, and stressed the need to guarantee that all boys and girls, regardless of their origin or migrant status, have access to quality services that promote and allow their emotional well-being. To develop to their full potential.