At the initiative of the First Lady, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, a panel discussion on “Youth and mental health” was held in the President’s Office, with the aim of raising awareness on the mental health of young people.
The Minister of Health Bekim Sali addressed the event and presented a research made in cooperation with the students of the Faculty of Philosophy, entitled “Youth and mental health. How responsive are we to the needs of young people?”.
The panelists at the event were Stole Bajraktarov, director of the Clinic for Psychiatry, Alexandra Filipova, manager of strategic development from NMSM, Radmila Živanović, psychologist and psychotherapist from NGO Metamorfosis, Bojan Kordalov, communicator and program coordinator at IDUEP Institute and Hristijan Tomovski, co- founder and head coach of “Basmenet”.
The panel discussion was attended by young people from the National Youth Union of Macedonia, the Union of High School Students and the Association of Medical Students.
Dear Minister of Health, Bekim Sali,
I am glad that today we are the hosts of this panel discussion dedicated to youth and mental health, a topic that is not often talked about, at least not that loudly and openly – a condition that should never be neglected and underestimated and which unfortunately , in the past two difficult pandemic years has been gaining momentum among the young population.
Allow me to express my strong support for the fact that we are addressing this issue precisely to young people who belong to a risk group and who, primarily due to less life experience, find it more difficult to deal with crisis situations.
During the pandemic, many young people faced a disruption in their everyday life, isolation, lack of social contacts with their peers, resulting in feelings of loneliness, fear, anxiety and depression. Such conditions led to mental, emotional and physical exhaustion.
Each of us reacts and responds differently to chronic stress. Some manage to cope with crisis situations, but unfortunately some develop long-term symptoms that can cause chronic dysfunction.
Without mental health, we cannot say that we are completely healthy. It is mental health that gives us the flexibility to adapt and cope with difficulties and stress. When our mental health is impaired, we begin to lose flexibility and avoid facing problems.
Therefore, mental health should be our collective priority. In order to respond to the needs of young people, to make it easier for them to cope with the challenges they face and will face in the future, and to prevent negative phenomena, we must continuously work to raise awareness about the mental health of young people.
This process should involve all relevant health and educational entities and their contribution. We are all individually as well as institutionally responsible to build a mentally healthy community. All this by promoting mental health in schools, by teaching emotional and social skills, and most importantly by ensuring equal access to mental health services for all persons, especially vulnerable categories.
Some time ago, I attended a workshop dedicated precisely to mental health care, specifically to the so-called “Burn out syndrome”.
I am confident that these workshops, free sessions with psychologists, expert manuals, will change the perception in the Macedonian society, will help to remove the stigma related to mental health and will help young people to get good and practical advice on taking care of their mental health health.