In response to the identified needs to ensure the availability of free and non-stigmatizing services focused on mental health and psychosocial support in local communities, in March 2022 PIN began cooperating with eight local self-government units on piloting psychosocial support programs. Eight psychologists and one defectologist were hired and trained to implement psychosocial support programs for youth, the elderly and people in crisis. Based on the needs of the local community, each of the eight local self-government units has chosen one of the support programs that will be available for the local population from April to August 2022. The psychosocial support program for youth was implemented in Užice, Prijepolje and Sjenica, the psychosocial support program for the elderly in Šid, Sremska Mitrovica and Loznica, while the psychosocial support program for people in crisis was implemented in Kosjerić with the general population, and in Ruma with parents of children with developmental disabilities.
In order to present the results of implementing psychosocial support programs, exchange experiences and examples of good practice in local communities, as well as to discuss ways to ensure the sustainability of services focused on psychosocial support and mental health, we gathered service providers, representatives of local self-government units, centers for social work and service centers at the final event held on June 24 in Belgrade. It was our pleasure to share the results of the programs, which proved to be very necessary in local communities, as well as the conclusions on further steps to be taken in cooperation with local self-government units, so that these types of services would be continuously available and in order to contribute improvement of life quality of the local population.
The activities were carried out with the support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, through the German-Serbian development cooperation project “Social protection services for vulnerable groups”, implemented by GIZ.