• June 22, 2024

North Macedonia Child and adolescent mental health training for primary care providers 2023

WHO and UNICEF are working in North Macedonia to enhance young people’s mental health by 2030 and minimize mental health sufferers’ suffering. WHO trained primary health care (PHC) workers and pediatricians to improve mental health services for young people nationwide as part of the collaborative effort.

“As part of the UNICEF and WHO Joint Programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Well-being and Development of Children and Adolescents, WHO in North Macedonia is supporting activities to strengthen the capacities of health-care workers in PHC to recognize, diagnose, and support problems and conditions related to mental and psychosocial health in children and adolescents, implementing the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP),” said Dr Stojan Bajraktarov

The WHO European Region launched the Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia project on 5 May 2023.

The WHO’s “mhGAP intervention guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings” is also introduced in the trainings. It provides practical advice on everything from effective and respectful communication with children and adolescents with mental and behavioral disorders to diagnostics and treatment planning.

“PHC doctors are often children and families’ first mental health contact. Dr. Katarina Stavric from the Department of Family Medicine, Medical Faculty Skopje, one of the training series teachers, underlines that they need the skills and expertise to deliver timely and effective care.

PHC is the most accessible kind of therapy and care for many individuals, families, and communities. PHC services are not tied to any particular health issue, thus there is less danger of stigmatization, marginalization, or prejudice by the community when individuals come to them for aid, making them more acceptable to many.

“The mhGAP module helps us PHC doctors learn mental health care. “Asking for help on the PHC level, people are less worried about being judged by the community, which makes our support more acceptable and therefore more accessible to most service users and families,” says paediatrician and training participant Dr. Svetlana Smugreska.

Skopje and Tetovo PHC and pediatricians received the initial training

Dr. Naser Durmishi of Skopje’s University Clinic for Psychiatry, a mental health support trainer, says the mhGAP module provides evidence-based guidance for PHC doctors to effectively identify and manage mental health problems in children and adolescents and provide appropriate treatment and care.

600–700 general practitioners and pediatricians from around the nation are trained until 2023.

The Pan-European Mental Health Coalition has been transforming western Balkan mental health systems for WHO/Europe. In October 2022, a Western Balkan subregional summit was held in Tirana, Albania to discuss partnerships and progress on the Roadmap for Health and Well-being.

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