About 300 experts in the field of mental health of children and youth, education, pediatricians, doctors and other professionals involved in the protection and ensuring the healthy development of children and youth participated in an online professional lecture which on behalf of the Commission for protection of mental health of children and youth of the City of Zagreb during and after the COVID-19 crisis was held by experts from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, director professor Gordana Buljan Flander; PhD, clinical psychologist – psychotherapist; Bruna Profaca, PhD, clinical psychologist, and Vlatka Boričević Maršanić, PhD-MD, a psychiatrist.
Graphic presentation of lecture participants by occupation (with regard to the selected competent chamber):
The COVID-19 pandemic and the earthquake in the city of Zagreb, although defined as significant threats to physical health, had an undeniable impact on mental health, especially of children and young people. In the coming period, one of the most prominent challenges, but also the goals of experts will be to preserve and contribute to the protection of mental health, ie providing professional support to children and youth, as well as their families in dealing with the difficulties they experience. During the lecture, experts from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center introduced the participants to the concepts of stress, crisis and trauma, direct and indirect effects of pandemics and natural disasters on the mental health of children and youth, risk and protective factors and possible clinical manifestations of mental health problems. and adolescents. Also, participants were introduced to preventive and therapeutic interventions to preserve mental health and treat disorders caused by stress and trauma in children based on modern guidelines.
As part of the professional webinar Bruna Profaca, PhD, gave a lecture entitled “Stress, trauma, crisis”. In her lecture, Vlatka Boričević Maršanić, PhD, MD, spoke about the risk and consequences of the pandemic and earthquake that affected the city of Zagreb for the mental health of children and youth and the role of experts in diagnostic assessment and possible treatment. Director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, additionally emphasized the role of experts in the field of health, social care and education in the current situation and warned of the challenges in protecting the mental health of children and youth in the coming period.
Also, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, emphasized that in childhood and adolescence some children are still more sensitive to the impact of pandemics and earthquakes, with additional attention to trauma-informed treatment, which aims to prevent retraumatization and facilitate the cooperation of client (Butler, Critelli, & Rinfrette, 2011).
Mental health professionals from our Center asked the young people they work with how they cope with the corona virus restrictions on leaving home. They asked them what they do while they are indoors. Among the answers below some are from members of Center`s Youth Bord, all united in the hashtags: #stayhome #heretoeachother
Can a "corona-story" have a psychologically happy outcome and what can we do to reach it? In addition to talking to children and young people about hygiene, self-isolation, and schedule of learning and working from home, let's talk about and, more importantly, show to our kids by example how to be human.
Topic of the issue in the School Gazette of November 6, 2018, was mental health of children and young people. Journalist Branko Nađ interviewed clinical psychologist of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center Assist. Prof. Bruna Profaca, PhD, and the published article was entitled "Children need continuous support for healthy development":