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[Activity Report] HGPI Children’s Health Project Selected to Conduct “Improving Mental Health Literacy Among Kindergarten Teachers, Nursery Teachers, and Other Preschool Child Care Providers” Initiative Under FY2022 Nippon Foundation Grant Program (July 1, 2022)

Today, we would like to announce that Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) will conduct an initiative titled “Improving Mental Health Literacy Among Kindergarten Teachers, Nursery Teachers, and Other Preschool Child Care Providers” as part of the Nippon Foundation grant program for FY2022.

Starting in FY2020, HGPI has emphasized children’s health as a key item on the health policy agenda while advancing its Children’s Health Project. In that project, we have gathered domestic and global opinion leaders and related organizations from industry, Government, academia, and civil society in this field for advisory board meetings, hearings, and expert meetings. Together, we have worked to build quantitative data by conducting intervention surveys among elementary and middle school students, to crystallize current issues and discussion points in health policy based on that data, and to consider which direction to set for addressing those issues. While doing so, we have maintained a steady focus on mental health as a priority health item for children that is closely related to physical and mental development and socioeconomic issues. As a result of these activities, the Children’s Health Project released its first set of policy recommendations in June 2022, titled, “Four Recommendations for Prevention and Support in Children’s Mental Health – HGPI’s View on Children’s Mental Health Policy.”

Those recommendations outlined the need for seamless, comprehensive support from pregnancy to childbirth and until adulthood that is based on points of view centered on individuals and that encompass the entire life course to help children grow up healthy. They also emphasized the need to create more opportunities to provide education on mental health for adults who work with children, especially those in support roles.

With support from the Nippon Foundation, the goal of this initiative will be to design and conduct an educational program on mental health for kindergarten teachers, nursery school teachers, and others who support preschool-aged children. We will then conduct a study to verify the program’s effectiveness. Our objectives will be to build a support system that operates from the early preschool period and to provide more opportunities for early detection and intervention for mental disorders from a perspective based on a life course approach. We will utilize the results of the effectiveness assessment to compile necessary perspectives for supporting children’s mental health in the form of policy recommendations and then disseminate those recommendations to policymakers and similar parties with our sights set on contributing to better health for children.

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