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The online platform of the City of Zagreb “Support in the palm of your hand” was presented on June 10, 2020 at a press conference on “Mental health of children and youth” which is aimed at strengthening the mental health of children and adolescents. All content on this platform is free, and their authors are experts from health institutions in the City of Zagreb. The platform was presented by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, President of the Commission for the Protection of Mental Health of Children and Youth of the City of Zagreb during and after the COVID-19 crisis and psychologist from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center Ella Selak Bagarić, member of the Commission. The goal of the project “Support in the palm of your hand” is to strengthen and empower the psychological resilience of children and youth through direct support and support to their parents, educators, teachers, professional associates and mental health professionals. Shared content includes ideas for designing leisure time for children and young people and tips for strengthening positive coping strategies, and includes written, pictorial and video content designed to strengthen resilience and nurture the mental health of children and young people. The “Support in the palm of your hand” platform pays special attention to ensuring the availability of services to the child’s community, relies on existing resources and capacities, ie the knowledge and experience of experts from the City of Zagreb, and promotes coordination, cross-sectoral cooperation and joint initiative in mental health.
Press conference (Jabuka TV):
The director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center and the president of the Commission professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, pointed out that research conducted after quarantine showed that about 30% of respondents developed some form of post-traumatic stress disorder due to a crisis caused by the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus as a trauma left global consequences, but almost three months ago Zagreb was hit by an earthquake that left terrible effects at the local level. That is why this Platform was created for children and young people, but also for their parents. Numerous educational materials can be found on it, which were created in response to the needs in these extraordinary circumstances “, said the director and added that the protection of the youngest population and their mental health is an absolute priority of the public health system. She pointed out that educational support materials were delivered in May to the addresses of all preschool institutions and primary and secondary schools founded by the City of Zagreb, which includes: 60 preschool institutions, which in the current pedagogical year are attended by 31,363 children of early and preschool age, 111 regular primary schools, which in the current school year are attended by 62,621 students, 4 primary schools for students with disabilities, which in the current school year is attended by 725 students and 55 secondary schools, which in the current school year are attended by 30,946 students. She also stated that in the next period, further strengthening of the health care system and social care in the City is planned through the support and education of experts and further delivery of materials.
Statement of the director for Radio Sljeme:
Psychologist Ella Selak Bagarić, associate on this project and a member of the Commission, presented the activities of the Commission in its work so far and presented the work schedule and the platform “Support in the palm of your hand”. She explained the structure and importance of systematizing support resources and adapting to users, taking into account their developmental and psychological characteristics and scientific knowledge about optimal communication with people in crisis. On behalf of the members, she presented how the data on already performed preventive activities for the protection of mental health in the system of health care, social welfare, preschool education and primary and secondary schools were collected; how the platform encourages dialogue between the community and health, education and social services, with particular emphasis on cross-sectoral cooperation and a joint initiative to protect the mental health of children and young people; how the platform can support cooperation between all institutions owned by the City of Zagreb that work directly with children and youth, ie disseminate available educational materials in the population of children and youth, parents and professionals. She also stressed the importance of the availability of reliable information and content on the importance of psychological health in order to destigmatize the search for psychological help.
Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić concluded that he was proud of the results of the Commission’s work, since mental health is a precondition for the progress of Zagreb and the homeland:
“This is a joint effort of all city institutions and we will continuously work to keep it that way,” the mayor said. He especially thanked professor Gordana Buljan Flander by pointed out the activities of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center so far as an example of good practice. The conference was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, the Head of the City Office for Social Protection and Persons with Disabilities Romana Galić and the Deputy Head of the City Office for Health Ivana Portolan Pajić.
The online platform “Support in the palm of your hand” is available at:
All content is free to download.
Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.