Mental Health for All – International Mental Health Day

On Monday, October 10, as part of the celebration of the International Day of Mental Health, an exhibition was opened in the Ethnographic Museum, organized by UG Prostor and the Naum network, which displayed the art of users of psychiatric services of the association Prostor, Duša, Videa and the informal group Pleme F20, as well as works which were created within the series of visual arts workshops “Are you normal, Vol. 2” of the association Prostor.

After that, an anti-stress workshop was held with psychotherapist Ivana Lukovnjak, Hertz association (Naum network), where the attendees were introduced to practical techniques and exercises for overcoming stressful situations and preserving mental health. The interactive play “Stories from the Soul” caused the greatest interest. This interactive theater performance was created based on the experiences of users of psychiatric services. The creative process of the forum theater was led by psychologist and artist Vera Erac, and organized by Caritas Serbia.

At the very end, the panel “Mental health for all” was organized by the association with the idea of informing and involving the most vulnerable groups (young, elderly, adults at risk) in order to improve mental health care and highlight the importance of prevention and services in the community. The forum was attended by: Irena Stojadinović, PIN – mental health of users of psychiatric services in the community Doc. Dr. Milutin Kostić, Institute for Mental Health – mental health of people who turn to institutions for help Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Milićević Kalašić – mental health of the elderly Stanislava Vučković, head of the program for adolescents and young people, UNICEF office in Serbia – mental health of young people Dragoslava Barzut, Civic Initiatives – mental health of activists, An Mari Alves Ćurčić, Initiative for you#Važno je- mental health on social networks and in the media.

When asked what the role of civil society is in mental health protection, Dragoslava Barzut from Civic Initiatives answered: “We have good legislation when it comes to mental health protection, but not implementation, as civil society we can monitor whether the action plan of the Program for the protection of mental health is implemented and to demand responsibility if it is not implemented. We can be active citizens – to protect our rights, including the right to be in trouble and to ask for help”.

The next day, in the premises of the Stari Grad municipality, in the organization of UG Prostor, a round table on the topic of mental health was held, which brought together key actors from the Stari Grad and Zvezdara municipalities, with the aim of recognizing mental health as a separate category of public health at the level of these local governments. After being informed in which areas this cooperation has yielded results, group work followed on the following topics:

What are the mental health needs in your municipality?
Which target group’s mental health needs are least met?
What needs to be improved in the field of mental health care, who are the relevant actors and what are the concrete steps?