16 Jun 2022

Results of the webinar on Polish reform on Mental Health | Learning From Each Other Webinar Series | 8th June 2022

Find out the video recording of the webinar (on original audio-only: 80% Polish and 20% English) and the presentations of the speakers.

After the 9th EUCOMS network meeting in Krakow in May 2022 during the Community Psychiatry Forum of Beneficiaries, Families and Professionals, the experts from Krakow had the chance to speak about the reforms in Poland in more detail. Find below the attached presentations of the speakers.

As we have at the end of every webinar from our series Learning from each other a Q&A session, because of the time limit, there was not enough time to have all the questions answered, so we gathered the questions from the chat and had them answered from the experts. Find the answers at the end of this article.

Katarzyna Szczerbowska

Izabela Ciuńczyk

We had invited our friend from IIMHL, Sean Russel, to have a reflection on the topic:

The questions and answers from the webinar:

Q: Is it in all countries of Poland the same as in your region? Did they make the same change as you did?

A: There are 39 centers in Poland, which operate according to the same pattern as the place run by dr Izabela Ciuńczyk. You can check where they are on the website czp.org.pl. They also have a Facebook profile Pilotaż Centrów Zdrowia Psychicznego 

Q: Is it possible to conduct research in Europe on the role of experts through experience in changes in psychiatry and in the functioning of community psychiatry? The Polish experience is impressive, Katarzyna presented only a small fragment.

A: The Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology conducts extensive research on the work of recovery assistants in Poland. The thesis is written by a young doctor, Jakub Andryańczyk, who is preparing during an internship to become a specialist in psychiatry. For many years he has been associated with the Europa Foundation from Warsaw, where people who experience mental crisis work. He has already collected material on the recovery assistants and their work experiences from Europe and the United States. Now he will conduct research in Poland. The research manager is Dr Justyna Klingemann, a health and medical sociologist. It would be great to do research in Europe on how recovering people contribute to helping those who are sick and their families.

Q: Is there a real chance for the creation of more day centres, sheltered housing and help not only for the sick but also for the family of such people?

A1: The chance to create a greater number of community centres, sheltered housing and assistance not only for the sick but also for the families of people experiencing a crisis, is if local politicians are involved in changing the mental health care system. Such things can be financed from the budget of a district or town. It happens that such flats are already being built from the local budget. The club for elderly people with schizophrenia was created on the basis of a public fundraiser. Hostels could be built at mental health centres. There is such a hostel in Warsaw, such a hostel is to be built near the centre in Wieliczka, near Krakow.
A2: Community Psychiatry unit ( Association for the Community Development and Care) in Kraków is unique on the map of such Polish centres due to its longest existence and the role model it played for decades.
Practically since the death of the precursor of community psychiatry – Antoni Kępiński here in Kraków, the idea of continuity of his legacy had been implanted not long from that.
In the late 80’ we had a senior centre, quarterly published magazine, theatre and vocational workshops, not to mention the art gallery – all dedicated to people with mental sickness just released from psychiatric wards of hospitals.
Luckily it was a time of extraordinary people, the real enthusiasts of such a psychiatry model. Nothing could be done without them…
All recently-created centres are somehow our followers.
There are two worth mentioning units in Kraków
The Department of Professional Activity “U Pana Cogito” Pension and Restaurant – where most of you stayed during Kraków EUCOMS – was created in June 2003. It is a place of work and professional activation for mentally ill people.
“Mr Cogito” currently employed 24 people after mental crises. All profits are transferred to the professional rehabilitation of people employed at “U Pana Cogito”.
Cogito’s budget comes from the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled and plays a role model of an enterprise that combines social economy with educational aspects – conducts effective rehabilitation of mentally ill people.
A social economy is a professional economic activity, the profit from which is allocated to social purposes, with a large participation of people who require support.
It is an activity that has a significant impact on solving important social problems, combining economic and social goals in a sustainable way.
Center for the Elderly mentally ill aged 45+. The project called “In the Senior Center we will overcome barriers – Senior Center for mentally ill people” is co-financed by the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, not from the public fundraiser nevertheless I set up the fundraiser and collected almost 50 k PLN to additionally support the centre’s equipment.
Project implementation period – 01.04.2021 – 31.03.2024 The main goal is to increase the independence of 28 disabled people – Mentally ill over 45 years of age by acquiring and improving the ability to cope with basic and advanced activities of everyday life. Forms of support art therapy – applied arts, ornamentation and decorating, music, biblio, film and theatre therapy. Its aim was to increase self-esteem, develop interests, teach active and effective spending of time, shape interpersonal relationships and improve mood.

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