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Psychiatrists from Serbia in Job Shadowing Visit to Trieste's DSM


In the follow-up of its work on the improvement of the situation of psychiatric hospitals and the position of patients and staffs alike, the Helsinki Committee organized – in the second year of the project „Civil Society Campaign for Efficient Protection of Persons with Mental Disorders“ – a study tour to Trieste Mental Health Services /DSM/ for another four psychiatrist from Serbia.

This time, from May 31 till June 5, 2015 in cooperation with its Italian partners the Committee organized a job shadowing tour for a group consisting of psychiatrists from special psychiatrist hospitals in Novi Kneževac and Vršac, the Mental Health Counseling Center in Kragujevac, and the Psychiatric Ward of the Sombor General Hospital that will be assisting the local medical center in providing better healthcare to psychiatric patients.

During a five-day workweek the four psychiatrists had the opportunity to closely observe daily work of their mentor and colleague from the Mental Health Center Barcola in Trieste, and gain insight into methods of community-based treatment.

The group also observed the manner in which Trieste's four mental health services – Barcola, Gambini, Maddalena and Domio – and the local Emergency Department were operating. The four psychiatrists were watching regular treatments provided to patients, talked to some of them, learned in detail about pharmacological approaches to the treatment of some specific disorders, and toured all the segments of Trieste's services for persons with mental disorders.

Apart from services' organizational functioning, psychiatrists from Serbia gained insights into the work of other medical officers and auxiliary staff who demonstrated to them practical advantages of community-based care and philosophy behind it.

They notably benefited from the opportunity of accompanying their mentor to home visits and safe houses providing dignified lives to persons with gravest psychiatric disorders and mental disabilities.

Unexpectedly, the group also attended the preparations for admission of two forensic patients transferred from prisons to one of Trieste's mental health services – the facility in Aurisina.

The project focuses on the four above-mentioned institutions in Serbia since they – this way or another, and at different levels of protection – stand for precursors of Serbia's new approach to treatment and care of persons with mental disorders.

This summer special psychiatric hospitals in Novi Kneževac and Vršac are starting mental health services in Kikinda and Vršac and thus actually launching the process of deinstitutionalization and community-based care. Though functioning as a primary healthcare service, the Kragujevac Mental Health Counseling Center will be turned into Serbia's third mental health service by the end of 2015. As for the Sombor Medical Center it has been developing a different model given that it has no specialized psychiatric department and, therefore, has to lean on such department of the town's general hospital.

The study tour to Trieste and the job shadowing are segments of a composite project the Committee has been implementing with the assistance of the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.



























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