Sunday, 11 October 2020

World Mental Health Day: There is No Health without Mental Health

October 11, 2020 - A school in Baranja takes international participation on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

Each year, on October the 10th, World Federation for Mental Health (WFHM) celebrates World Mental Health Day with the aim of promoting and protecting mental health. This year's slogan is „Mental health for everyone, everywhere: Greater Investment-Greater Access” emphasising the importance of mental health accessibility to everyone, regardless of their material status or place of residence.

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The past few months have brought many challenges and the need for mental health and psychosocial support is expected to increase considerably in the upcoming months and years.

Given the fact that numerous schools have joined the international eTwinning project „Me, Myself & I”, one of the introductory activities has been to mark World Mental Health Day. During the entire week preceding October the 10th, around 200 teachers from 8 European countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Turkey) conducted different activities with their students in order to promote the importance of carrying for mental health.

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„The fact that mental health is so much more than the simple absence of mental illness is being emphasised through different activities. Mental health is the state of well-being by which people can meet their study potential, deal with different stressors and connect with people and community. Mental health in children and youth contributes to easier schooling, builds resilience to stress and gives self-confidence to seek help individually and is therefore an important factor in child's performance but also later in life” as has been stated by Marija Jurić, a school psychologist at Drenje primary school, which, alongside Goran Podunavac, a Computer Science teacher from Popovac primary school, has started this praiseworthy project at these times, when our everyday life has changed significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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With this project, students are encouraged to recognize their own emotional states, quality communication with fellow-people, cooperation and seeking for support within their own community. Students learn about mental health through different, interesting activities and topics, applying their current experience. Project activities are being published regularly on the TwinSpace page of the project „Me, Myself & I”.

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Many students continue to collaborate with peers from other schools and countries, showing each other how they care for themselves, what they do in their free time, how they relax, how and with whom do they talk about their feelings and problems.

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The planned activities will be good not just for the children but also for their teachers and for the rest of the employees at schools. We must never forget that there is no health without mental health.

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Friday, 9 October 2020

MP Says Number of Psychiatric Patients Growing, Croatia Lacks Strategy

ZAGREB, October 9, 2020 - MP Tomislav Tomasevic of the We Can! platfom said on Friday, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, that the number of psychiatric patients in Croatia had been growing due to the coronavirus pandemic and that there was no national strategy to improve medical and social services for those patients.

"The number of mental disorders has been growing icreasingly but despite that, since 2016 we have not had a strategy for the improvement of mental health that would envisage implementation instruments and funding for medical and social services," Tomasevic told reporters.


Depression to become most widespread disease globally by 2030

He recalled estimates by the World Health Organisation saying that  depression would become the most widespread disease in Croatia and the rest of the world by 2030, noting that this problem was discussed very little.

"Because of the stigma that goes with mental disorders, people hide their problems... and public focus or the focus of political debates is not on topics such as mental health," he warned.

This needs to change because the "new normal" caused by the coronavirus pandemic will have major consequences for the population's mental health, he said.

New Left party leader Ivana Kekin, who works as a psychiatrist at the KBC Zagreb hospital, warned that for a long time not enough had been invested in mental health in Croatia.


Kekin: Pandemic caused drop in quality of mental health services

"The WHO recently published a study which shows that during the pandemic in 93% of countries worldwide the quality of health services in the area of mental health has dropped, and Croatia is no exception," Kekin said.

She warned that as of recently psychiatric wards were being closed down in the country, such as the one at Zagreb's KB Dubrava hospital, while the space for psychiatric patients at KBC Zagreb was being reduced due to the March 22 earthquake.

"Instead of expanding and investing in infrastructure, we have been 'shrinking' and services are becoming less and less available," she warned.

We know that the vaccine for the coronavirus will be ready in the winter or possibly spring, but there is and will be no vaccine for depression, panic attacks, alcoholism and suicide, she said.

The first step should be to adopt a national strategy to increase investments in prevention and mobile teams, and we have to move away from the model of treatment where most chronic patients are hospitalised, Kekin said.