At the National Assembly House, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic opened the conference launching project and campaign “You are not alone” aimed at overcoming prejudice against mentally troubled youth.
Gojkovic said that the objective of the project is to send a clear message that young people coping with mental issues are not and will not be left to fight them alone, adding that we need to work together to combat the prejudice still present in our society about this topic.
Gojkovic said that the mental health of our young people deserves the attention of the whole society because they are the future of our country and that is why it is important to talk about this problem and not look away especially in view of the mounting number problems contemporary life is rife with that lead to mental disturbances.
The Assembly Speaker said that because of the prejudice of contemporary society, and not just ours, many and especially young people and their families are loath to seek professional help even when they are fully aware or feel that they have a problem. On the other hand, even when they share their problem they are faced with social stigma which often pushes them to the margins of the society, deepening their loneliness and the feeling that their problems cannot be solved.
“It is extremely important to encourage young people to seek professional help when they feel they have an overwhelming problem. On the other hand, we have to be aware that, fearing the negative reaction of their environment, young people are often uneasy and ashamed which raises an insurmountable obstacle and barrier to seeking help. That is why as society we have buckle up and start changing this way of thinking”, said Gojkovic.
The Parliament Speaker said that young people need to be sent a clear message through the education system, media and all communication channels they are familiar with that mental problems are a component part of human life, that there is nothing shameful in having mental issues and not to be scared of approaching a professional.
Some of the speakers at the launching of project “You are not alone”, conducted under the patronage of the National Assembly Speaker in co-operation with UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, were also Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic, Minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy Prof. Dr Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Israeli Ambassador Alona Fisher Kamm and Severine Leonardi of the UNICEF office.
Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic reminded the attending that October is mental health month. He said that the Ministry is well aware of mental health issues because a lot of young people are troubled by emotional problems, stress and anxiety and it will support any socially responsible initiative.
Minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy Prof. Dr Slavica Djukic Dejanovic said that the mental health of young people and persons with disabilities deserves special attention. The implementation of the sustainable development goals (17 all in all) 2030 UN agenda clearly states that no one should be marginalized.
“The social stigma needs to be eradicated because besides medical help people suffering with mental issues need help from the society which needs to be educated first and foremost by taking a positive stance and not reacting in fear”, said Djukic Dejanovic. She stressed that destigmatization and deinstituitionalization could help educate the public about mental issues.
to watch the speeches.