'Breaking Walls, Building Bridges' : Mental Health Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe

This seminar titled “Breaking walls, building bridges”, provided a much needed insight of mental health in Central and Eastern Europe, an area of the world that has largely been overlooked in global mental health, despite the scarcity of resources in the region. 

This seminar included a host of prominent researchers and clinicians in the field and we were especially pleased to have the Health Deputy Minister of Albania who presented on the challenging journey of mental health reforms in his country:

  • Dr Arlinda Cerga Pashoja (Co-Deputy Director, Centre for Global Mental Health, LSHTM)
  • Dr Petr Winkler (Head  of Department of Social Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic)
  • Dr Klodian Rjepaj (Deputy Minister of Health of Albania)
  • Dr Naim Fanaj (Director of Community Mental Health Centre, Prizren)
  • Elizabeth Kohls & Juliane Hug (Leipzig University)
  • Prof Ricardo Araya, (Professor of Mental Health, Kings College London)

It has been more than 25 years since the end of the cold war, when countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) emerged shaken: politically, economically and socially. Approaches to mental health during communism were purely biological while as care-systems were;centralised;and hospital-based. Although, there have been quite a few positive developments in the region the systems remain ineffective, under resourced and fraught with human rights’ issues. The region has the highest proportion of disease burden in the world due to mental health problems as well as the highest suicide rates, but strikingly, the lowest funding levels in Europe (15 times lower than other European neighbours). Despite all these issues, countries of Central and Eastern Europe do not appear to be on the agenda of the global mental health community.

Policy and legislation
Human rights
Empowerment and service user involvement
All disorders
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