Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – Every fifth Czech suffers from some form of mental disorder, with one half of patients showing symptoms before reaching the age of 14, according to studies, members of the Government Council on Mental Health said at a press conference today.
The council approved today the National Action Plan on Mental Health, which tries to solve the lack of preventive measures, for example, by involving schools.
Roughly ten billion crowns are spent on psychiatric care from the country’s public health insurance system every year.
The experts said that the crucial issue is detecting any problems before they can develop into a serious psychiatric diagnosis.
“If we had a functional system of timely prevention, some costs could be lower and in some cases, lives could be saved,” the mental health reform’s guarantor, Ivan Duskov, said.
According to a representative of the people in psychiatric care, Marie Salomonova, the educational system in the Czech Republic does not address the topic of mental health at all.
“We managed to include this topic in the national action plan. Support should also be provided for advisory centres for students at universities, as well as for their increased accessibility,” Salomonova said.
The council includes members from the Labour Ministry, Education Ministry and Justice Ministry as well.
Among the topics the council addressed today were, for example, the issue of the gradual cancellation of beds at large psychiatric hospitals and the transfer of their patients to outpatient and outreach teams active at facilities known as centres of mental health.
The current situation is that 1,663 people were released from hospital in two years and now receive community care, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) said.
There are 17 centres around the Czech Republic, with another four already approved and nine waiting for a suitable location.
After an initial test run paid by European subsidies, the centres are now shifting to a model of financing from health insurance.
Other measures prepared at the moment include a more comprehensive approach to outpatient care services and the widening of the services provided by the centres of mental health to include children, adolescents and seniors.
The reform states that large psychiatric hospitals should be able to gradually reduce the number of beds in their facilities.
According to Vojtech, the government council will meet every three or six months as needed and representatives of the institutions involved will meet every month as a work group.
The costs of diagnostics and care for mental sillnesses, together with the costs of social services as well as other indirect costs due to work hours lost and disabilities, are estimated at 100 billion crowns.
Mental and behavioural disorders are the most common reason for granting a disability pension.
Among the people suffering from some form of mental illness, roughly 10 percent suffer from a disorder linked to alcohol consumption, 7 percent suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, roughly 5.5 percent suffer from mood disorders, 4 percent suffer from depressive disorders. Four Czechs commit suicide every day.