In Prague, on 11 July 2017, a meeting was organized which brought together practitioners from across Europe who are dealing with the manipulation of children by parents in divorce proceedings. The purpose of the meeting was to establish European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners (EAPAP, https://www.eapap.eu/) that will deal with this issue at a systematic international and multidisciplinary level.
The 2nd Croatian Congress on the mental health of children and youth with the international participation of “Mental health of young people – The wealth of nations” was organized by the Croatian Association for Infant, child and adolescent psychiatry, Psychiatric Hospitals for Children and Youth and Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb in Zagreb on May 17 and 18, 2018. The congress discussed numerous aspects and improved mental health of children and young people as an essential factor in the overall health and well-being of the entire society, and our experts contributed significantly.
The Round Table “Intersectoral co-operation in the protection of mental health of children and youth – doings and procedures” was moderated by Mia Roja, a psychologist from the Center, and participants were Prim. Domagoj Štimac, MD, child psychiatrist from the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb; Lana Peto Kujundžić, PhD, Juvenile Judge of the Zagreb County Court; MSc. Dragan Josipović, Police Directorate; Marjeta Knez Turčinović, MD, psychiatrist from the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb; Mara Budimir, social worker, Psychiatric hospital for Children and Youth and Ljiljana Samardžić, Associate Professor of Social Pedagogies in Primary School Prečko and Primary School Nikola Tesla, Zagreb. The importance of timely response of all experts, as well as of citizens, to signs of abuse and neglect of children, and concrete proposals for further intersectoral cooperation and information exchange between experts involved in child care in accordance with the legal framework were discussed. After a very interesting discussion involving actively the audience, round table participants agreed that the activity would continue even after the meeting was over. It will gather the main conclusions and proposals for the establishment of interdisciplinary teams across Croatia, which would have the call and mission to work in local communities, to ensure the protection of every child in accordance with his best interests, which we are bound by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The document will be sent to the relevant Ministries.
At the congress was held and roundtable entitled “The impact of the education system to the mental health of children and youth in the Republic of Croatia”. Moderator was Prof. Natasa Jokic Begic, PhD, from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. One of the participants was a Bruna Profaca, PhD, psychologist from the our Center which presented the experiences on this issue from the perspective of clinical psychologist: sources of school stress and mental health of young people, whether children have school support, as well as which school factors are risky, and which are protective in children with mental health problems. Other participants were: Michael Kozina and Iskra Pejic, professional staff psychologists in schools and MSc. Zrinka Ristic Dedic from the Institute for Social Research.
As part of the session “Psychopathology of children and young people”, the moderators were prime. Domagoj Štimac, MD and Ivica Šain, MD, prim. Štimac gave a lecture “The specifics of dailyhospital program in Centre’s conditions”, co-written with the scientists psychologist of Center, Ella Selak Bagaric, Renata Coric Špoljar and head nurse in Center, Vesna Juricic. The lecture shows the two-year experience of our daily hospital, with special emphasis on a team approach, working with therapy dogs and other modern techniques in therapeutic work with children and adolescents that are used daily in the daily hospital.
At the congress we also participated in the symposium “Coffee with clinicians” organized by and participated by psychologists Marija Crnković and Renata Ćorić Špoljar, social worker Nikolina Škrlec, psychiatrist Marjeta Knez Turčinović, MD. and social pedagogue Dora Kralj. They shared experiences in work on parents’ counseling, group work with parents, parenting of parents with mental illness and the treatment of trauma. We have exchanged experiences, difficulties, challenges and dilemmas with other experts, with the aim of sharing and developing additional ways of helping the youngest members of our society and their parents, caregivers and experts who care about them. The importance of cooperation with various institutions and parts of the system (social welfare centers, kindergartens, schools, doctors, police, homes for abandoned children…) has been emphasized in therapy, regarding interdisciplinary and inter-institutional cooperation in working with children.