19 apr 2020 | Cecilia Gordan
Message from the IACAPAP President
April 17, 2020
We reach out to you today in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times, but not the first time in our 80-year history in which we face crises that seemed unsurpassable at the time.
We are reaching out with three concrete items, and a broader message relevant to the days we are living through:
First, we have decided to postpone the World Congress in Singapore this July, which we had been so looking forward to. We are currently considering future alternatives and will share our plans in due course. But for now, we want to remind all of our members about the extensive set of online resources that we have available and that we have been steadily building over the past decade. Resources include the IACAPAP e-Textbook and its many translations, our massive open online course (IACAPAP MOOC Essentials Program), the IACAPAP Monographs, and of course, the IACAPAP Bulletin. All of these materials are completely free of charge and we encourage you to make use of them and share them with colleagues around the world.
Second, as an umbrella international ‘association of associations’, we have done our best effort to collate materials related to the COVID-19 pandemic in one place. To access some of the materials that we have found most relevant to the practice of child and adolescent psychiatry during these times, please click here. This is a living collection of documents and resources, and we certainly encourage you to contact us with additions, which we will be glad to incorporate.
Third, in an effort to communicate all that we are learning on a daily basis during these times, we encourage you to consider sharing your own experiences as a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist or allied professional. We welcome submissions on any aspect pertaining to our practice during the pandemic, and specifically urge you to consider one of two different venues:
Finally, we want to share some of our thoughts about the extraordinary times we are living through. It is all too common to say that ‘we are all in this together’. At one level, this is true, in that COVID-19 has claimed over 100,000 lives in the world by now, the virus knows no borders, and the impact of the pandemic continues to have a global toll. In that sense, we are indeed united as one large human community, and our fates are interconnected.
But at another level, it is not quite accurate to say that we are in this together. Specifically, the virus has taken a disproportionate toll on the poor, the elderly, and on minority and disenfranchised communities around the world. Social distancing is not a human right; it is very much a privilege. We should recognize how privileged we are in being able to communicate through this electronic means. To be able to have each other as a community. To be able to take precautions against the virus.
Regrettably, that is not true for countless families around the globe. Many families around the globe don’t have access to safe water or basic safety, let alone to the Internet. Although the virus has mercifully had a small direct impact on children and those underage, it has shown no such mercies on the families and extended community of caretakers supporting children. Even if this is not a ‘childhood pandemic’, it is very much a family and society pandemic. It is clear that the reverberations of this time will be enduring, and that our work will be more needed than ever.
This pandemic should remind us of our commitment to children and families and to underserved communities all around the globe. It should also serve as a powerful reminder of the fact that we are not alone: we have each other. We hope that this message and the many resources included in it may provide not only solace and comfort but enhance your practice through access to concrete clinical tools. Ultimately, we want to support the efforts we have all committed our professional lives to: to take care of the children and families we are privileged to serve.
We wish health to you, your family, your patients and your communities.
In closing, dear friends, and paraphrasing William Faulkner’s words, we shall prevail, not merely endure.
Daniel Fung, President, and the IACAPAP EC Committee