Florence Thibaut
President's Letter

Dear Friends and colleagues,

On behalf of the association, I would like to thank you again for your great contribution to the success of the Paris 8th World Congress on Women's Mental Health.  
You can download some photos of the congress via our website photo gallery -  to access photos click here!

Recently, the International Association for Women's Mental Health, in cooperation with the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, has published guidelines which are intended for health care providers who manage pregnant women who use alcohol. The aim of these guidelines is to improve the quality of care and to aid in clinical decision-making in this population. 

There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy and abstinence is recommended. Yet, a multinational European study showed, on average, 15.8% of women using alcohol during pregnancy; the highest percentages were observed in the UK, Russia, Ireland, Denmark, Belarus and Switzerland (up to 21%) and the lowest in Norway (4%) (Mårdby et al. 2017). Moreover, according to a recent meta-analysis (Popova et al. 2017), the global international prevalence of consuming any amount of alcohol during pregnancy was estimated to be 9.8%, with the highest percentage observed in Europe (25.2%) and the lowest in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region countries (i.e., Arabic countries) (0.2%). There is also an increasing trend towards using multiple substances, either concurrently or alternately, which further increases the risk for the foetus. Indeed, prenatal alcohol exposure is an ongoing major concern and the major cause of avoidable neurodevelopmental disorders including fœtal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Lange et al. (2017) reported a worldwide prevalence of FAS of 7.7 per 1,000, the highest rates were observed in Europe and South Africa. Popova et al. (2017) estimated that, approximately one in every 67 mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy delivered a child with FAS.

Public awareness about the risks of alcohol as well as tobacco and illicit drug use during pregnancy should be raised; all childbearing age women must be informed about their potential harm in the case of prenatal exposure. Ideally, women should stop alcohol use when pregnancy is planned and, in any case, as soon as pregnancy is known. Perinatal caregivers are in an ideal position to screen pregnant women for alcohol use and to advise women on the importance of avoiding alcohol. They have also to be particularly aware of under-declaration of alcohol consumption in pregnant women. To achieve this goal, education and training regarding screening and management of alcohol use in pregnant women should be promoted in all perinatal caregivers.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne in 2021 for the 9th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry (www.iawmh2021.org). In the meanwhile, several IAWMH representatives will be present at the International Society of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology congress in The Hague 9-12 October 2019 (
https://www.ispog.org ).

Best regards

Prof. Florence Thibaut IAWMH President
Save the Date!
Don't miss the 9th World Congress on Women's Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia in March 2021!

We invite you to join us in Melbourne Australia from 14-17 March 2021 for the 9th World Congress of Women's Mental Health.
This is a great opportunity to join leading specialists from across the globe to  discuss the latest in advances in women's mental health.  Clinicians, researchers, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and community groups are invited to contribute to the dialogue by participating in keynote presentations, symposia, workshops, free communications and poster sessions.  The Congress offers a unique networking and learning opportunity for professionals to meet and discuss best practice and innovative developments to improve women's mental health.
The Congress will be held at the spectacular Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, centrally located in the city centre surrounded by a wide range of accommodation options within easy walking distance.  So you will  the chance to enjoy and experience Melbourne first hand, rated as one of the world's most liveable cities.  It is a culturally diverse city that is recognised for its cosmopolitan appeal and from the contrast of its historical city laneways and modern architecture, exceptional dining, vibrant art galleries, shopping and its sporting culture, Melbourne has it all.  On the door step of the  city,  you  can explore some spectacular sights and natural beauty on offer.  
And of course we encourage you to take a little extra time to explore the land of contrast Australia truly is -  from the lush tropical rainforests and breathtaking beaches of Queensland, the excitement and splendour of Sydney's Harbour to the spectacular wine regions of Adelaide - the options are endless.
Planning is well underway to ensure you have a memorable experience and we will keep IAWMH members  informed to help in your planning. Be sure to visit the website www.iawmh2021.org and register your interest to receive further information. We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne - mark 14-17 March 2021 in your diary now - you won't want to miss it!

Launch of a Dutch Branch of IAWMH

From the left to the right_ Monique Rook (NIP); Jannet Vaessen and Metty Snel (WOMEN'S INC.); Rutger Jan van der Gaag and Patricia van Wijngaarden-Cremers (IAWMH); and Jonathan Prinsen, (NVvP).  Sitting in front Janneke van Wens-Verhulst, Alliance Gender, Health.
Missing on the picture Jacobine Geel GGz NL, Marjan ter Avest, MIND
In 2027 Maastricht a flamboyant city in the South of the Netherlands, closely neighbouring Germany and Belgium, will host the IAWMH congress. Maastricht is special as it is governed by women: the Lady Major, the Chancellor of the University, the CEO of the University Hospital as well of the CEO of the largest industry DSM Chemicals, are all women!

But 2027 is still a long time from here. Therefore we have decided that we should not wait. Last 4th of June, the founding meeting of a Dutch Branch of IAWMH took place in Utrecht. There is already a lot going on in the Netherlands regarding gender-specific medicine and healthcare. Yet mental health is often disregarded and limps behind. That should definitively change. Therefor this NL Branch of IAWMH aims at joining forces to raise awareness and induce change in our own workplaces and organisations. The response is very positive. A very valuable addition is the publication these days of the "Handbook of Psychopathology in Women and Men" that we all hold proudly in our hands on this picture.
All organisations that are willing to participate have own branches or sections or working groups on gender and diversity. These are:  

In the first meeting all organisations pledged to contribute to the success of this NL IAWMH network. During the summer we will work on clearly defining our focus in line with the mission and vision of IAWMH, and will propose an Activity Calendar for the next year, including the congress day in April 2020. In that congress our Belgian counterpart and hopefully women's organisations from Germany and France will participate actively.
We are greatly looking forward to contributing to the work of IAWMH by working together on raising awareness and improving services and combatting stigma on mental health especially for women.
Patricia J.M. van Wijngaarden-Cremers, Chair of NL Branch of IAWMH
The Catalan Research Workgroup on Women's Mental Health 

The Catalan Research Workgroup on Women's Mental Health organizes the III European Meeting on Women's Mental Health, Psychosis and Gender which would be held in Barcelona on May 14th and 15th, 2020.

In the last decades, the topic of gender differences in psychosis has generated a high amount of interest and research in the scientific community. The ways in which women and men express psychosis are probably modulated through a variety of factors related to genes, hormones and the environment. This is probably why women experience the same disease differently, and why women and men show a different response to medications and non-pharmacological treatments.

The main goal of this Meeting is to update the knowledge about several issues related to the topic of gender, women and psychosis. 

There will be three main conferences:
  • Prof. Sivana Galderisi. "Recovery in psychosis from a gender perspective"
  • Prof. Ana Gonzalez-Pinto Arrillaga"Cannabis use in women with psychosis and its clinical effects"
  • Prof. Prabha Chandra. "The Psychopathology of Postpartum Psychosis"
And there also will be 5 Symposia and oral and poster Communications.

We encourage you and your colleagues/team to present a symposia, and/or oral communications in order to share the knowledge of your research.

If you are interested, please write to this email: wmhbcn@gmail.com
IAWMH Belgium Regional Group Formed

The "IAWMH Belgium", a local division of the IAWMH, has been formed at the 8th World Congress in Paris. As the by-laws have been written and agreed upon by the founding members, the organization is reaching out to interested persons with different academic backgrounds that aim to support the goals of the IAWMH in their work and research. Interested persons can contact Dr. Marc Roelands, clinical psychologist, at marc.roelands1@telenet.be.
Ecuador 2020 Regional IAWMH Meeting

October 5- 6 2019 -  together with the Ecuadorian Society of Biological Psychiatry
Sessions are being formed with IAWMH Leadership.  Past President Marta Rondon will chair a session on Gender Violence.

For more information, email Vicky Valdez at  vickivaldezp@gmail.com
Collaborative Interorganizational Symposium at WPA Lisbon

On 22nd August 2019 session, a Collaborative Interorganizational Symposium: Perinatal Care: A Top Priority for Mental Health Care Programs will be presented.  The symposium was organized in collaboration with The International Association of Women's Mental Health and International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health.   

Chairs:- Prabha Chandra and Charlotte Hanlon
Speakers: Jane Fisher, Charlotte Hanlon and Olayinka Omigbodun

For more information on WPA Lisbon, click here
IAWMH Member News

IAWMH Past President Anita Riecher-Rössler published an article in Archives of Women's Mental Health, "Sex and gender differences in schizophrenic psychoses-a
critical review," along with Surina Butler & IAWMH Immediate Past President Jayashri Kulkarni.

Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo Honored

University of Illinois assistant professor Dr. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo was honored in June by her alma mater, California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

Dr. Lara-Cinisomo, who completed her undergraduate work at the Southern California-based university, received the 2019 Child and Adolescent Development Top Alumna award for her pioneering research in postpartum and perinatal depression, as well as her work with mothers and children.

Dr. Lara-Cinisomo, a professor in the Kinesiology and Community Health Department of Illinois' College of Applied Health Sciences, also was named recipient of the Dr. Carol Kelly Legacy award, named for the woman who mentored Dr. Lara-Cinisomo and numerous others at CSUN.
Looking for news from our members!

As we are preparing IAWMH Newsletters we want to highlight our members' activities, awards and news. Let us know what's happening that would be of interest to other IAWMH members. Send your news to Debby Tucker at debra@iawmh.org to be included in the next newsletter.