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CARe News from Croatia - Radmila Stojanovic Babic

After Covid-19 lockdown and earthquake in Zagreb (22.3.) 2020 seems to be very depressive and threatened by unsustainability.

1) ESF

Though in May we have signed the contract for ESF project 'Establishment of peer mobile teams for people with psychosocial challenges' (2 years after we applied) where Susret is the partner, it is being implemented in 6 regions (Dubrovnik, Split, Ogulin, Slavonski Brod, Osijek and Vukovar) where partner organizations work.

Project coordinator is NGO Ludruga (a peer led organization) who already have peer support groups in Zagreb since 2017.

The aim of the project is to animate and raise awareness of the people with mental health problems (experts by experience) to join peer support groups, (some of them were educated as facilitators), contribute and support each other in recovery process.

Facilitators of the peer groups are supported once a week by experienced peers. When mobile teams establish they will also be supported (1x week by psychotherapist and 1x month supervised by psychiatrists so they got support for themselves as well).

My role was to sensitise experts by profession (in 3 cities psychiatrists were present, few nurses from Psychiatry; mostly participated social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists) with/through 2-day CARe introduction in order to soften their institution-oriented approach and support recovery process of experts by experience in the community.

History to this project was Twinning project “Ensuring optimal health care for people with mental health disorders,” implemented (2016-17)  by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Croatia

As a result, 3 (instead of planned 10) mobile teams were established (consisting of a psychiatrist and a nurse) in Zagreb (dr. Ivezić!), Karlovac (young dr. Salopek) and Slavonski Brod (dr. Ergović Novotny) and piloted for a year.

As it is obvious, there were no peer members in those teams, because at the time of preparing the project, Ministry of Health told Trimbos Institute that there were no peer organizations in Croatia. After the project ended, teams stopped working.

Multidisciplinary mobile teams were introduced in new Mental Health Strategy which is still sleeping in someone's drawer in the Ministry due to tough resistance of prominent doctors (e.g. dr. Ćelić from hospital Vrapče (among members who visited Netherlands within this project) and member of parliament is strongly against psychiatry in the community as he sees it as a threat to hospital Vrapče. Dr. Ivezić is great advocate for community psychiatry in this story)

So this current project run by NGOs enable peers to join one day to multidisciplinary teams in their regions and in the meantime support each other in their's recovery process.

Updates from CARe Ambassador in Croatia - Radmila Stojanovic Babic

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