Child psychiatry was the subject of the Sunday debate on TVN24. The invited guests discussed their experiences, the functioning of this branch of medicine and the necessary changes.
On Sunday on TVN24 took place discussion “Psychiatry of children and adolescents in crisis”. Marcin Zaborski talked to doctors, therapists, parents and pupils.
Szymański: His teenage daughter was hospitalized. Old furniture, old beds and the stench
The first guest of TVN24 was Rafał Szymański from the Internet forum for the exchange of experiences “Porcelanowe Aniołki”, whose daughter struggled with mental disorders and underwent treatment.
– For me, this situation was a shock. We were going to see a psychiatrist because there was a problem with self-mutilation. When the psychiatrist said the baby was staying [w szpitalu – przyp. red.], it was a situation in which we could not find ourselves. Helplessness, a lot of guilt, because maybe it was possible to react earlier – he said.
His daughter was then 12 years old. – She was taken to the hospital in Józefów, which was quite a terrible place. It was scratched paneling that was not clean, old furniture, old metal beds and a stench – Szymański enumerated.
Juchimiuk: We cannot draw a card if reality is what it is
Kasia Juchimiuk, educator of the eFkropka foundation, struggled with the disease herself. – The symptoms appeared much earlier, at the age of about 17, I was going through various states that were difficult to define, difficult to control. At 21, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she said.
– The hospital I went to was a children’s and adolescent hospital, although I was an adult. On the one hand, do not discourage the hospital and encourage them to come for help. But on the other hand, we cannot draw a card if reality is what it is. And the fact is that it is dirty, there is no equipment, there is unfriendly space – she emphasized.
Lewandowska: The difference in remuneration is so large that it is difficult to keep a good specialist
Doctor Aleksandra Lewandowska, head of the psychiatric ward for children at the Psychiatric Hospital in Łódź, emphasized that “the problem of child psychiatry” is that psychiatrists run away from hospitals and clinics that have a contract with the National Health Fund. – The difference in valuation and remuneration is so great that it is difficult to retain a good specialist, or even a doctor, in the course of specialization in the clinic. They go to private institutions, to commercial places – she pointed out.
Heitzman: the hospital is not a panacea and a remedy for the mental health of every human being
Professor Janusz Heitzman, vice-president of the Polish Psychiatric Association noted that “psychiatry is nowadays in the headlines, but for decades this problem has not been noticed”. “You can’t change psychiatry in one day,” he added.
– We are thinking about not packing the children straight to the hospital. The hospital is not a panacea and a remedy for the mental health of every human being, especially young ones – emphasized Heitzman.
Wojciechowska: the process of change is noticeable, but there are problems
Katarzyna Wojciechowska, head of the psychiatry department for children and adolescents at the provincial hospital in Świecie on the Vistula, said that for her “the process of change is noticeable”. – We have a renovated ward, it is colorful, friendly, children feel good here – she said.
However, she noted that “we have such a problem that there are very few doctors”. – There are two actively working doctors in our ward – me and my colleague. For this we have residents who support us. The needs are huge, there are more and more children, and the number of beds is tiny – she said.
Szredzińska: public subsidies cover 5 percent of the demand
Renata Szredzińska, a board member of the Empowering Children Foundation, which runs a helpline for children and youth, said that “public subsidies cover 5 percent” of the budget needed for its functioning. Not all calls can be answered. – If we had greater financial possibilities, we could have more consultants, more positions, answer more phone calls – she said.
She noted that “116 111 is not only a telephone, because children can also write”. – It was a very important channel during the pandemic. We also receive e-mails – she said.
Remberk: psychiatric treatment begins with psychotherapy, with a psychological consultation
Professor Barbara Remberk, a national consultant in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, pointed out that “we are talking about doctors because they are the easiest to count, but psychiatric treatment begins with psychotherapy, with a psychological consultation”.
– These are the professionals who can be invited to the public health care system. Every child and adolescent psychiatry ward should have contact with a psychologist, not everyone needs medications – she emphasized.
“Young people are definitely more willing to speak. It gives hope”
Tomasz Bilicki, a therapist and a certified crisis interventionist, emphasized that “the school is not a center for psychotherapy and crisis intervention, but this does not change the fact that the teacher very often provides psychological first aid in a crisis situation”.
In turn, Angelika Friedrich, the founder of the “Teenage Asylum” initiative, which herself struggled with anorexia, said that she was the first to tell the teacher about her problem.
– If the teacher gives such an opportunity, for example during the classroom hour, to talk about his problems, it makes the student want to talk about them. When I saw no other solution, I reached for help – she said.
Jerzy Kłoskowski, the president and founder of the eFKropka Foundation pointed out that “the openness and readiness of young people to speak is definitely much greater than in the generation of older people”. “It gives hope,” he said.
If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In an imminent life threatening situation, call 997 or 112.
The TVN Foundation is building the Center for Child and Youth Psychiatry. You can support the foundation on the site foundation.tvn.pl.