Improve the quality of life of mental health patients through the promotion of a new model of psychiatric assistance as well as a new model of resocialisation of mental health patients in their own society and community and in a cross-border environment.
The aim of the UPSTREAM project (UP.S.TREA.M. – UPdate of Socializing and TREAtment in Mental health) was to introduce new approaches to mental health patients’ handling and care in order to minimise the individual and social consequences of devastation of societies in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially for people with severe mentally diseases.
Promoting a new approach for improving quality of mental health services, the project introduced recent and consolidated psychiatric treatment and methodologies of resocialisation for mental health patients into the cross-border social conditions of SRB and BiH still in a transition phase after the social and general disruptions created by the traumatic period of 1992-1999 in the region.
The main activities of the project were, as follows:
Planning for social and political change by creating active Working Groups.
Exchanging of best practice in mental health psychiatric therapies of Valjevo Hospital and the resocialisation of mentally ill patients carried out by the social experts of the Fenix Association in Tuzla.
Training the Communities of Valjevo and Tuzla in “Organisation and Development of Mental Health Services”, with the observation and verification carried out by the World Health Organization.
Issuing the results of a cross-border research that analyses the comparative conditions of the new therapies and the methodologies applied in the socialisation activities both in SRB and BiH.
Coordinating a common campaign against the stigmatisation that still affects mental health patients.
Establishing a common website open to the public for general information and references with a specialised, limited access area for medical professionals.
The general result of the UPSTREAM project can be summarised as the development of new and more efficient mental health systems in SRB and BiH.
The main specific results were:
Innovative treatments in mental health
Empowerment of mental health operators and of civil society groups
Creation of networks
Greater efficiency of the lobbying actions promoted by the civil society organisations,
New awareness in Serbian and BiH societies about mental health-related issues.
Aspects of good practice
The project has been very strong in the whole range of aspects of good practice, including innovation, dissemination, cross-border impact and sustainability.
It is particularly noteworthy that UPSTREAM activities have continued after the completion of the project and follow-up activities have been instigated, ensuring long-term benefits. More specifically:
The cross-border cooperation started with the UPSTREAM project between the two mental health systems in Valjevo and Tuzla is continuing after the end of the EU support.
The relationships created at any level during the project implementation – professional and also human relationships – stimulated the interest in the proposal and in the mutual learning, in this way showing the benefits from both sides in sharing their experiences.
The development of a wide package of protocols, analyses and booklets done during the project will facilitate the development of proposed models of territorial collaboration and community-based treatments.
The project is a very successful example of Public-Private Partnership in providing this kind of services.
It has been underlined that all of these issues are sustainable also from the financial point of view, because the project promoted new approaches to mental health care that are not more expensive than the former ones, but they consist of a better use of the financial resources already available at public level.
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