OUR HISTORYWho We Are
Increased Awareness of the Psychosocial Needs of Children
In the early 1990s medical and mental health professionals in Greece began to take an interest in the study of the psychosocial needs of children with life-threatening illnesses as well as the bereavement needs of children and families who had experienced the loss of a loved one.
The Founding and Establishment of Merimna
It was within that atmosphere that Merimna, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1995 by nine professionals comprised of university professors, pediatric hospital directors and medical professionals, mental health professionals and a clergyman who wanted to create an effective and well-organized support system in Greece, for children whose lives have been overturned by life-threatening illness or the death of a loved one.
Establishment of the First Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center
Merimna’s board established, in 1998, the first Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center in Athens.
Establishment of Pediatric Palliative Home Care Service
As a parallel operation, the Pediatric Palliative Home Care Service was established in 2010. This is the only service in Greece that provides medical and psychosocial care to children with life-threatening illness as well as to their families.
Establishment of Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center in Thessaloniki
In 2013 Merimna established the second Childhood Bereavement Counseling Center, in Thessaloniki, in order to better meet the needs of Northern Greece.
Training programs for professionals who are supporting refugees and immigrants.
Since 2016 Merimna has been implementing training and empowerment programs for professionals who are working with refugee and immigrant families, as well as professionals who are caring for unaccompanied minors. The programs are funded by UNICEF in collaboration with the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA) and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. (ΕΚΠΑ)
The aim of the program is the training and clinical supervision of professionals working in the relative accommodation centers in Greece.
Founding Members of Merimna
1. Danai Papadatou (President)
Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Nursing, University of Athens
2. Mirto Neilson (Treasurer)
Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Author
3. Chrysoula Lemonidou (Secretary)
Professor of Nursing, University of Athens
4. Sotiris Manolopoulos
Psychoanalyst, Pediatric Psychiatrist
5. John Papadatos
Director of Intensive Care, “P.&K. Kyriakou Pediatric Hospital”
6. Stella Tsitoura
Director of Department of Social Medicine, “P.&K. Kyriakou Pediatric Hospital”
7. John Ifantopoulos
Professor of Health Economics, University of Athens Nursing Department
8. Alexandros Fostiropoulos
University Priest, University of London, England
9. Maria Wasielewski
Nurse, Counseling Psychotherapist
Honorary President: Konstantinos Papadatos
Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, University of Athens
Over the years five founding members have left the board and five new members have joined Merimna and corresponding changes were made to the organizations’ charter. The new members are as follows:
1. Johanna Giannopoulou
Child Psychiatrist, Center for Mental Health – Peristeri
2. Eleni Kamperi-Tsouriadi
3. Chrissy Chatsichristou
Professor of School Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Athens
4. Zaira Papaligoura
Professor of Developmental Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
5. Mara Politi