Better mental health support to families during the pandemic
UNICEF, the EU and the Association of Psychologists of Montenegro are calling for the national and local authorities to provide better mental health support to families during the pandemic.
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PODGORICA, 28 December 2021 – UNICEF, the EU and the Association of Psychologists of Montenegro are calling for the national and local authorities to provide better mental health support to families during the pandemic.
Almost half of the citizens of Montenegro, 44 per cent, said that they have been mostly worried during the last month, while one in three citizens said that their psychological state has deteriorated during the pandemic and that they feel constant anxiety and exhaustion from it. These are the key findings of a nationally representative survey conducted by the research agency Ipsos last month with support from the EU, UNICEF and the Association of Psychologists of Montenegro.
According to UNICEF Montenegro Representative Juan Santander, this data points to the need to provide better mental health support to children, adolescents and their caregivers. For this reason, UNICEF and the EU are supporting the Parents’ SOS line 080 888 888 and the National SOS Children’s Line 116-111 to provide psychological support to parents and children for free and with full respect of their privacy.
More free sports and cultural activities need to be offered to children and adolescents in every local community to support both their mental and physical health. Also, the number of psychologists in Montenegrin schools needs to be increased, and educational programmes which help students develop socio-emotional skills should be provided to all children in Montenegro.
According to Tamara Milić, President of the Association of Psychologists of Montenegro, last month’s research by Ipsos confirms the insights of the Association of Psychologists of Montenegro.
The most commonly observed problems during the COVID-19 pandemic are anxiety and depression in adults, and behavioural challenges in children – the consequences of isolation and a lack of socializing with peers – and emotional problems. The good news from this research is that three out of five citizens stated that they are ready to consult a mental health specialist because of their feelings during the pandemic.
According to The State of the World’s Children 2021; On My Mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health – UNICEF’s most comprehensive look at the mental health of children, adolescents and caregivers in the 21st century – even before COVID-19, children and young people carried the burden of mental health conditions without significant investment being put into addressing them.
According to the latest available estimates, more than one in seven adolescents aged 10–19 are estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Almost 46,000 adolescents die from suicide each year – among the top five causes of death for their age group. Meanwhile, wide gaps persist between mental health needs and mental health funding. The report finds that about 2 per cent of government health budgets are being allocated to mental health spending globally.
As COVID-19 heads into its third year, the impact on children and young people’s mental health and well-being continues to weigh heavily on those affected. According to the latest available data from UNICEF, globally, at least one in seven children have been directly affected by lockdowns, while more than 1.6 billion children have suffered some loss of education. The disruption to routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry and concerned for their future.
In Montenegro, data on the mental health of citizens during the pandemic was collected by Ipsos on a nationally representative sample of 824 citizens aged 18 or over from 23 to 27 November of this year through a telephone survey with a questionnaire of an average duration of 10 minutes. The key findings of this research, as well as of the previous surveys on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Montenegro’s citizens about the pandemic, are available on the UNICEF Montenegro website.