Friday, 11 February 2022

Ninth Sitting of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

At the sitting held on 11 February 2022, the Committee on the Rights of the Child was briefed on the results of the research conducted by the Friends of Children of Serbia on the topic: "ME AND THE PANDEMIC - Mental health problems from the child's point of view."

Committee Chairman Ivica Dacic expressed great satisfaction that the sitting was dedicated to such an important topic, saying it was an opportunity to point out how and in what way to best support the mental health of children in the times of COVID-19.

"The Friends of Children of Serbia is our long-term partner with whom the Committee on the Rights of the Child has excellent cooperation and has marked World Children's Day two years in a row, organised online conferences involving children and youth and representatives of student parliaments from all over Serbia. This shows that we consider it extremely important to involve children and young people and keep them informed in order to achieve a direct dialogue with them, as well as getting to know their successes and the problems they face", said Dacic.

The results of the research were presented to the Committee by Iva Erakovic, Executive Director at the Friends of Children of Serbia, who said that the problem children most often cites was social isolation and environmental anxiety, i.e. feeling unsafe in open spaces. The research included 94 teenagers aged 13 to 18, from 24 places. The children cited anxiety and depression as problems, feelings of rejection by peers, shame to seek help and a lack of self-confidence. They also complained of eating disorders, suicidal thoughts caused by violence - domestic, peer and sexual. The children also mentioned online classes as a great pressure. It is a worrying that only 26.3% of children would turn to their mothers for help and only 3% to their father. Only 8% of children would turn to a professional, citing inaccessibility and mistrust due to previous bad experiences as the reason. Another worrying fact is that suicide is the second leading cause of death in Serbia, after traffic accidents.

Erakovic emphasised that it is necessary to find out what prevents children from turning to adults and professionals,that psychologists and pedagogues must become more accessible, and civil society outreach capacities providing support to parents, especially fathers, need to be developed.

"Schools should become and remain a safe place", stressed Erakovic.

At the end of the sitting, the Committee Chairman pointed out that it is our job, all of us, to contribute to the improvement of the mental health of children and youth and to help them realise their full potential.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Ivica Dacic and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Dr Vladimir Orlic, Stefan Krkobabic, Radovan Tvrdisic, Ljiljana Malusic, Jelena Obradovic, Nikola Lazic, Natasa Ivanovic, Milija Miletic, Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic, Milijana Sakic, Dr Vesna Ivkovic, Ilija Zivotic, Branimir Jovanovic, Elvira Kovacs and Haji Milorad Stosic.

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