February 2014
9th Congress of European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability (EAMH-ID)

The 9th EAMH-ID international congress, entitled "New horizons for Mental Health in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities", was organized with the sponsorship of World Psychiatric Association and in collaboration with the WPA section Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability. The event was held in Estoril (Lisbon) from September 12th to 14th 2013.

People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) belong in our World.

This hopeful and inclusive perspective is not already reality but an ethical statement. The fact that people with IDD are more vulnerable to mental health problems increases the risk that they will become excluded by society. It is therefore extremely important to share knowledge and encourage its deepening and expansion with the aim to reposition the relationship between mental health and IDD and to reappraise all aspects.

This was the conceptual frame with which the past President and the Board of the EAMH-ID warmly invited representatives from a multitude of perspectives, approaches and cultures to join the conference.

The congress was a great success with more than 450 participants from 30 Countries. Although Europe was the most represented continent, with a top participation from the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and United Kingdom, delegates came from America, Africa, and Oceania.

Beside the collaboration in the organization, the WPA-SPID has actively participated with two Symposia on the “classification and criterial issues for the forthcoming diagnostic manuals”.

WPA-SPID in the person of his chair, Dr. Marco Bertelli, also took part in a joint round table entitled “new horizons for research: mental health in intellectual & developmental disabilities”, with some of the most relevant international associations of the field, such as the National (American) Association on Dual Diagnosis (NADD), represented by Dr. Robert Fletcher, the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID), represented by Prof. Germain Weber and Prof. Jane McCarthy, the Séminaire International Interuniversitaire sur la Clinique du Handicap (SIICHLA), represented by Dr. Régine Scelles, the European Association of Intellectual Disability Medicine (MAMH), represented by Dr. Roger Banks, and of course the EAMH-ID, represented by his President, Dr. Johan De Groef.

During the closing ceremony Dr. Marco O. Bertelli was officially announced as the new President and Florence, Italy as the city hosting the 10th EAMH-ID international congress. The congress will take place on September 9-11 2015.

An excerpt taken from the new president acceptance speech is reported below:

‘since I entered the university to become a medical doctor I've ever loved research. I think research is fundamental for clinics at least to the same extent clinical challenges represent a base for research.

At the halfway of my training in medicine I felt that most of medical specialisations wouldn't have met my interest in philosophy and humanities developed during my previous studies at the high school, but fortunately I discovered psychiatry, as a discipline implying a complex approach and thus able to combine all my interests. I thought that entering the mind of persons with schizophrenia and helping them to recover from this severe disorder was the most satisfactory thing I would have ever done as a medical doctor.

Thus, I was very disappointed when asking for a topic for my graduation thesis, the full professor of the operative unit of psychiatry at the University of Florence imposed me to complete a research on mental retardation, which was largely considered a marginal area of psychiatry.

Nevertheless, I was looking forward to working as a psychiatrist and my main desire was to complete my training and to graduate. So I decided to accept.

I can now say that this apparently unlucky obligation was one of the greatest chance of my life: entering the field of mental health of intellectual disability I could increasingly realise that I was getting in touch with most complex pathogenic models within psychiatry and greatest opportunities to help other persons and bring a contribution in life to make a better world.

In fact, nearly one half of the total population with intellectual disability needs psychiatric help, surpassing the need related to schizophrenia, bipolar disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder in the general population, without considering the psychopathological vulnerability linked to borderline intellectual functioning.

These are the same beliefs and purposes with which today I'm honoured to accept the lead of the European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability and the organisation of the next International congress. I'll try to give to mental health of intellectual disability the central place it deserves within mental health. In fact I think that more than other areas of mental health, intellectual disability requires multidisciplinary intervention, explores the direct clinical expression of the body-mind link, and implies sensitive diagnostic skill and tools. In daily practice the symptoms detection often has to start from very generic signs, like behavioural changes or problem behaviours. Furthermore, more than other areas of mental health intellectual disability provides models for new understanding of intelligence, for the assessment of adaptive skills as well as supports, for genetic causes of psychiatric disorders, and for high vulnerability to distress, it implies a holistic consideration of the patient, and applies new person-centred outcome measures, like generic quality of life.’

Dr. Marco O. Bertelli

Chair, WPA Section Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability


The new EAMH-ID Board


The joint round table of international association for mental health in intellectual disability at the Lisbon EAMH-ID International congress.





9th Congress EAMHID 12 - 14 September 2013 Estoril, Portugal









Not Present (No Show)




Number of Countries (see enclosures)






The Netherlands 90

Belgium            79

Portugal           57

United Kingdom 49

Greece             20

Norway             20

Italy                  19

Luxembourg     17

France              16

Germany          13

Croatia             13

Denmark          12

Finland             10

Canada            7

USA                 7

Australia           6

Slovenia           3

Spain               3

Switzerland       3

Brazil                3

Austria             2

Ireland              2

Poland              2

Sweden            2

Israel                2

Bulgaria            1

Saudi Arabia     1

South Africa     1

Bulgaria            1

Gambia            1

New Zealand     1


The EAMHID Congress 2013 is supported by the following partners:

ALTER Société Européenne de recherche sur le handicap/European society for disabilty research

ARFIE Association de Recherche et de Formation sur l’Insertion en Europe

FENACERCI Federação Nacional de Cooperativas de Solidariedade Social

IASSIDD Special interest group CBMH, challenging Behaviour Mental Health

KNMG Royal Dutch Medical Association

MAMH European Association of Intellectual Disability Medicine

NADD National Association on Dual Diagnosis

SIICHLA Séminaire International Interuniversitaire sur la Clinique du Handicap

WPA World Psychiatric Association, section Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability

Under the patronage of Mr. László Andor, Member of the European Commission




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