Mental health in serbia - transitional context or are we going towards reform
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Institute of Public Health of Serbia "Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut" "Dr Subotica 511 000 Belgrade" Serbia
Institute of Public Health of Serbia "Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut" Serbia
Institute of Public Health of Serbia "Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut"
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1278
Since 2012, when Serbia became a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), an extensive process of reforms is being carried out for the reason of harmonization of national legislation with the standards and regulations of the European Union. This also applies to the field of mental health care (MHC). To assess the current situation, it has been decided to participate in the EU joint action ImpleMENTAL project that brings together more than 20 European countries and focuses on the implementation of two best practices in mental health (MH), a model of MH service delivery reform in Belgium and a suicide prevention program from Austria. The OBJECTIVE of the study is to present the current status of the MHC system in Serbia with an emphasis on the availability of community-based services and show the need for further improvement.

The situation analysis has been performed through the JA ImpleMENTAL project and it is based on data gathered through the questionnaires delivered by the project. SWOT analysis has been performed to investigate the situation of community-based MH service provision as a basis that can be used as a response to specific needs in future steps of the reform.

Although MH is a national asset, still it is seen as a low priority. There is still an accent on inpatient care, especially long-term hospitalization. Cooperation between inpatient and primary health care is not adequate and general practitioners do not have enough knowledge and skills in the field. There are not enough community-based MH centers. Data that more closely describe the work of MH service is missing or are of low quality.

Given to the findings the reform of the highly centralized MH system is needed, including its payment.

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