The JM Rey’s IACAPAP e-TEXTBOOK: An Exciting Milestone and A Renewed Commitment!
Mohammed-Hamid Osman, head of the Department of Mental Health Nursing, Asmara College of Health Sciences in Eritrea, wrote in the IACAPAP Bulletin (February, 2016): “The school of nursing at the Asmara College of Health Sciences planned to start a specialty course in psychiatric/mental health nursing. My department head asked me to prepare the content of the course, the curriculum. I was shocked by her request and asked ‘How is it possible to start a training program in mental health with such lack of resources?’ She replied ‘Don’t worry, just go to the Internet when the electric power is back and look for some resources […]. One night at 3am I went into the Internet and typed ‘child and adolescent mental health’ in the Google search bar […] Among the search results was the contents page of the IACAPAP Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. I downloaded the whole book from the web and I made sure I did not leave out a single page; I was very happy to get a complete book for free…”
In 2012, IACAPAP sought to put in the hand of every health professional a free, up to date, evidence-based textbook. “This e-book is a joint venture between child and adolescent psychiatrists and allied professionals in better-resourced parts of the world and the vanishingly few CAMH professionals in resource-poor regions working together. This arrangement fulfils another of IACAPAP’s objectives of facilitating partnerships between developed and developing countries for the purpose of education and training, encouraging learning and growth on both sides, and helping to reduce the disparity in accessibility of CAMH resources,” wrote Nigeria’s Olayinka Omigbodun, the then President of IACAPAP.
Now, eight years later, the eBook has achieved more than one million pageviews, there are versions in 11 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese), 64 chapters, and several hundred experts from all over the world have contributed. In addition, PowerPoint teaching slides are available for many of the chapters allowing professionals to further disseminate knowledge. One could think that the aims have been achieved. Who would have thought in 2012 that such a project would go so far? John Hamilton, an American child psychiatrist summarised the eBook as “Free, authoritative, and fun to read!” Perhaps this is one of the explanations for its success.
Working in the textbook has been useful for contributors in other ways, not just to make available up-to-date, reliable information. “The Vietnamese version of the textbook provided a means for experts in Vietnam to have a common platform for coherence and closer cooperation.” (Hue Nguyen MD). “It has been a great pleasure to work as editor of the version in Portuguese of the IACAPAP Textbook. Besides keeping in contact with renowned professionals in the field, this initiative has taught me much about one of the most powerful tools for human development: collaboration.” (Flávio Dias Silva, MD, Brazil).
The real challenge is ensuring the textbook remains up to date, available in more languages, and that it becomes a more useful learning instrument. Success has been the result of the generous contribution of hundreds of professionals. They are the real heroes in this journey and they deserve our gratitude. You can find their names on the various chapters and translations.
You can access the textbook here: https://iacapap.org/iacapap-textbook-of-child-and-adolescent-mental-health/