Mental Health Conference
with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Written by Louis Gregory

World Child Cancer is committed to improving the well-being of children with cancer in low– and middle-income countries. However, as has been increasingly publicly recognised in recent years, not all suffering is visible.  

Mental health is a crucial aspect of the care offered by World Child Cancer, yet gaps in existing practice require that more can and should be done to tailor our aid programmes.   

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Conference is a major global forum for the exchange of knowledge, the raising of awareness and the promotion of innovative approaches to healthcare. This year the Conference focused on Mental Health and was held in Athens from 21st to 23rd of June, attend by our Programme Advisor, Ghazaleh Kad. A distinguished guest in attendance was former President Barack Obama, returning to the capital city where he made his final international trip while in office.  

Of particular relevance to the work of World Child Cancer was the session: ‘The invisibility of mental illness and mental wellness among children, adolescents, and young adults living with cancer by Marie Barnett, Assistant Attending Psychologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The talk introduced several conceptual tools of interest for healthcare practitioners. Recognising that the suffering of patients is ‘biopsychosocial’, comprising not only biological causes but the ‘silent struggles’ of emotional and social distress, Barnett sees cancer treatment as necessarily plural. With this plurality, it is suggested that practitioners should be aware of the ‘dialectics’ of cancer care; the introduction of new treatments and medicines carries acute negative biological, social and psychological repercussions. To see ‘dialectics’ is to illuminate the often-invisible consequences of childhood cancer care.  

Through its psychosocial support (PSS), including palliative care and bereavement counselling, World Child Cancer recognises the broader emotional and psychological needs of patients, families and healthcare providers and attempts to improve the quality of life for children with cancer and maximise treatment compliance. Recognising the interdependence of both mental and physical well-being, World Child Cancer is dedicated to enhancing healthcare services to encompass each crucial dimension. 

 

Andreas Dracopoulos , the Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) giving a closing speech.

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

Read more

Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Read more

Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

Read more

Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

Read more

Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

Read more

Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

Read more

Discover More Stories…

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

Read more

Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Read more

Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

Read more

Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

Read more

Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

Read more

Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

Read more

Hassan’s story

14-year-old Hassan from the Machinga district of Malawi was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) last year.

Read more

Tiwo’s story

Five years after developing cancer and two years of treatment later, six-year-old Tiwo is doing well

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Franklyn’s Story

Meet Franklyn, now 17, who is fully recovered from cancer and dreams of becoming a doctor to help others

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Rebecca’s Success Story

Rebecca is now able to return to school after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana

Read more

My road to recovery

Prince went on to become a childhood cancer advocate and help many other children just like him when he recovered from leukaemia. Read More

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Estaphanie is excited to start university!

Meet Estaphanie, who is excited to start university after being forced to take time out of school following a cancer diagnosis

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Meet Bulu

Bulu is looking forward to following in his brother’s footsteps getting back on the football field

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Meet Oscar

Oscar was six years old when his mother noticed a swelling on his tummy and took him to a traditional village doctor

Read more
Will you join us?

Together we can close the gap in childhood cancer care.

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