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Szczecin. In the voivodeship there is only one psychiatric ward for children and adolescents in the entire region

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There is only one hospital psychiatric ward for children and adolescents in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. It has 36 seats. The first available date for patients is currently the end of April 2024.

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.

The Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the “Zdroje” hospital in Szczecin is the only center of this type in the region where children and adolescents up to 18 years of age are hospitalized. The branch has a total of 36 places, of which 14 are intended for children up to 13 years of age and 22 for youth up to 18 years of age.

The department accepts patients not only from the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, but also from the western part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and from the Lubusz Voivodeship. This means that it serves a region where approximately 3 million people live. As the head of the department, Dr. Małgorzata Wyrębska-Rozpara, admits, the situation is difficult.

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– Currently I have a station, we have a lot of admissions and people coming in – said the head nurse.

It should be emphasized that urgent cases that pose a direct threat to health or life are treated on an ongoing basis. The first available date for stable patients waiting in the queue to be admitted to the ward is currently April 25, 2024.

There is a shortage of specialists

Piotr Podwalski, MD, a psychiatrist, noted that analyzing the suicidal crisis among young people is a problem that should be fought not only by psychiatrists, but also by the entire medical community. The role of primary care physicians (GPs) and pediatricians is important here.

– Identification of a psychological crisis can be done by any medical professional. I think it may happen that people in crisis will go to primary care physicians or family doctors more often and faster, and they can receive quick help there. Access to psychiatrists is limited. It may happen that the pediatrician will protect the patient against committing suicide – said the psychiatrist.

READ ALSO: “There are places where the waiting period is over a thousand days.” The resort announces changes

Doctor Wyrębska-Rozpara pointed out that there is a shortage of child psychiatry specialists throughout the country.

– For several years now, specialization in child psychiatry can be started immediately after graduation, so this definitely speeds up the process of new doctors entering the market. There are more and more of them, but it is not a sufficient number considering the needs of patients, she noted. The head of the department emphasized that this was not the only aspect requiring improvement.

– It is also important to expand out-of-hospital care. At this point, if someone wants to get an appointment at a clinic for the first time, they have to wait several months, if not a year. It is very important to reduce this waiting time, she said.

The head of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at the “Zdroje” hospital in Szczecin noted that the outflow of doctors to private health care for financial reasons is also a problem. – It’s no surprise that they do it mainly for financial reasons, but also because working in overcrowded wards is hard and stressful – she added. The doctor emphasized that it is important that doctors want to work for National Health Fund.

What is the source of the problems?

When asked what causes suicide attempts by children and adolescents, Dr. Wyrębska-Rozpara said that it is difficult to clearly indicate specific causes. – Every year during school, we notice that there are more patients. They face difficulties at school, with peers, with environmental problems or family problems, she added.

People who come to the department have suicidal thoughts or have already made attempts, but many people who come also have eating disorders.

Ryszard Kamiński, a doctor of medical sciences, a specialist in clinical psychology, is of the opinion that nowadays the requirements for a child are becoming inadequate to his cognitive abilities. Every child is perfect in the parent’s opinion.

– Therefore, the child has a built-in narcissistic model of the ideal, but is not always able to meet this expectation. Children increasingly cannot be ordinary children. They are supposed to be geniuses, says Kamiński. – When it turns out that he is not able to meet expectations, he thinks that he is not good enough. This thought can grow into a far-reaching lack of self-acceptance, he adds.

The number of suicide attempts among children is increasingTVN24

Tragic report of suicide attempts by children and adolescents

GrowSpace Foundation, which deals with, among others, mental health at work and study, supporting the education system and acting for human rights, collected data on suicide attempts by children and adolescents from provincial police headquarters throughout Poland. The data shared is alarming.

Throughout Poland, the number of cases of suicide attempts by children and adolescents under 18 years of age in 2023 was 2,139, of which 146 resulted in death. This is also the second year in a row that this indicator remains above two thousand people.

SEE ALSO: A shocking report on suicide attempts by children and adolescents. Activists appeal to the government

The GrowSpace Foundation, which prepared a report on suicide attempts among children and adolescents, points out that the law guaranteeing PLN 3 billion for pediatric psychiatry and oncology is a good improvement, but “it is necessary to bear in mind what exactly these funds should be spent on.” Thus, the foundation presented recommendations to the Ministry of Health.

These include further development of community and outpatient assistance, especially outside large urban centers, support for prevention and psychoeducation, increased financing of day and 24-hour psychiatric wards for children and adolescents by the Ministry of Health, with particular emphasis on creating new places in the wards, emphasis on educating specialists and specialists, and the development of non-medical institutions and professions, e.g. recovery assistants.

Recommendations for the Ministry of HealthGrowSpace Foundation

Changes in the valuation of National Health Fund services are also crucial in order to stop the outflow of specialists to the private market. Experts also call for inter-ministerial cooperation, together with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy.

Author:Matylda Rozpasek

Main photo source: TVN24

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