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Mental health of children and adolescents. Dorota Łoboda, Wioleta Tomczak

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We know what it looked like in the previous term. We know that homophobia and transphobia were systemic from the government, said Dorota Łoboda (KO) in the “#BezKitu” program. – I hope that a real psychologist will appear in many schools as soon as possible – said Wioleta Tomczak (Poland 2050 – Trzecia Droga). The MPs talked about the government’s plans to improve students’ mental health.

If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a situation of immediate threat to life, call 997 or 112.

According to a report by the GrowSpace Foundation, in 2023, 2,139 suicide attempts by children and adolescents were initially recorded. This number is like a great cry for help – activists emphasize and hope that the new government will improve the situation in psychiatry.

Read also: A shocking report on suicide attempts by children and adolescents

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The guests of the “#BezKitu” program were Dorota Łoboda and Wioleta Tomczak, who sit in the parliamentary Team for Mental Health of Children and Youth. They answered questions about what the current government has done to improve mental health.

Dorota Łoboda (Civic Coalition) mentioned in the first place the financing of the helpline for children and youth 116 111. – The helpline is the first thing that has been successfully done. We are working on slimming down the core curriculum to help children and young people. From the very beginning, we have been trying to make this school a more friendly environment, said Łoboda.

Dorota Łoboda and Wioleta TomczakTVN24

Łoboda: LGBT people in schools were at risk of exclusion

She recalled that the Minister of Education, the Minister for Equality and the Ombudsman for Children took patronage over the ranking of people-friendly schools. LGBT. – We know what it looked like in the previous term. We know that homophobia and transphobia flowed systematically from the (previous – editor) Minister of Education, from the government. We realize that LGBT people in schools were exposed to exclusion, discrimination and violence. This is one of the elements of restoring safety at school, she said.

Tomczak: three billion zlotys donated, among others, to psychiatry

Wioleta Tomczak (Poland 2050 – Third Way) talked about PLN 3 billion that will be allocated, among others, to psychiatry. – In this current budget, PLN 3 billion was allocated, among others, for child and adolescent psychiatry, as well as for oncological diseases. I hope that this will partially support access to psychiatrist and psychologist advice. (…) I hope that a real psychologist will appear in many schools as soon as possible, she said.

– I am very glad that educators and teachers will also be able to play a supporting role, and they will also be adequately financed from the state budget – she added.

Tomczak: I hope that a real psychologist will appear in many schools as soon as possibleTVN24

Tymon Szelągowski from the Young People’s Forum asked when programs such as reimbursement of a private visit to a specialist will be introduced, when the waiting time for National Health Fund is longer than two months, a new subject – health education and a psychologist in every school. – When we implement it depends on coalition talks and the fact that these are different vessels connected to each other – said Tomczak.

– We are talking about the fact that we have 555 child psychiatrists in Poland, so not only psychiatrists can help young people. In the first place, such specialized help can be provided by psychologists and psychotherapists, who will also be strengthened, for example by legislative changes, she added.

The question was asked by Tymon Szelągowski from the Young People's Forum

The question was asked by Tymon Szelągowski from the Young People’s ForumTVN24

Opinions of young people

Paweł Mrozek from Akcja Uczniowska drew attention to the long waiting time for a specialist. – When we talk to our friends at school, we know that they need help and how long we have to wait for such a specialist. Sometimes it is better to go to a private doctor because it is faster. A person who wants to make an appointment with a psychologist receives information that it will be in a month or two. What should a person who has a mental health problem feel and do, and what should such a person do? That is why there is a huge request for these dates to be faster, for there to be a psychologist in every school, because this is crucial for us – he said.

– The truth is that when a young person is in a psychological crisis, he or she most often turns to a friend or colleague from the bench. This is the first person he actually goes to for help. (…) I believe that it is very important to educate young people in schools about emotional intelligence and, above all, how to react when another person is experiencing an emotional crisis – pointed out Wiktoria Nowak from Dom Spokojnej Młodości and the Off School Foundation.

Program "#BezKit": Paweł Mrozek, Wiktoria Nowak, Lucyna Kucińska on the mental health of children and adolescents

“#BezKitu campaign: Paweł Mrozek, Wiktoria Nowak, Lucyna Kucińska on the mental health of children and adolescents

“Often the ‘liberator’ is the teacher”

Lucyna Kucińska, a school teacher who also works at the Office for the Prevention of Suicidal Behavior and the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, when asked about the most common problems students report, said that they often involve learning problems. – The problems are diverse, very often the first problem is a problem with learning – that grades drop, that there is a problem with concentration, dealing with assessment, criticism, public speaking – Kucińska enumerated.

– These are symptoms of an emotional crisis, i.e. an anxious attitude, some mood problems, which children and teenagers often do not recognize on their own. If they go to a psychologist or school counselor, very often the “liberator” is a teacher who sees that something is happening. (…) The key to addressing the mental health of children and teenagers is not adding psychiatric beds, but first emotional help, the second stage of which is school, she added.

Former Ombudsman for Children: everyone should have the ability to first react

Former Ombudsman for Children: everyone should have the ability to first react TVN24

Dr. Marek Michalak, who was the Ombudsman for Children in the years 2008-2018, drew attention to yesterday’s deliberations of the “round table of mental health of children and youth” in the Senate. – Yesterday, young people gathered, invited the government, parliamentarians, experts (…) and presented their problem. They were listened to yesterday. This is not a problem that will be solved by one minister or another minister, he said.

According to him, every person a child turns to for help, which may be a parent or teacher, “should have the ability to respond first.”

Read also: In the Senate on mental health problems of children and adolescents. “There is no more important and urgent topic”

Andrzej Prendke, Campus Polska foundation

Andrzej Prendke, Campus Polska foundationTVN24

Andrzej Prendke from the Campus Polska foundation cited data from the Growspace foundation. – Last year, over two thousand children and teenagers attempted suicide. This is a disaster because it grows every year. At the same time, the same report indicated that there are approximately 266,000 people in need of specialist help, and there are just over 500 specialists. This is where politics should come in, because there simply must be more specialists, Prendke said.

Main photo source: TVN24



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