7. Health and Well-Being
The main governmental authority responsible for youth health and well-being is the Ministry of Health. There are also many public actors involved in the creation of public policies, advisory bodies, agencies and other governmental bodies with their appropriate roles: The Croatian Health Insurance Fund, The Croatian Institute of Public Health, Regional Public Health Institutes, The Ministry of Science and Education,The Ministry of Tourism and Sport.
Currently, there is no strategy specifically targeting youth health and well-being. Other strategies exist, such asNational Health Development Plan for the period from 2021 to 2027. Furthermore, The Action plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2020-2026 is based on a series of international and Croatian strategic documents placing the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in a foreground position. The Health 2020 represents a strategic framework for developing a health care policy which would include NCDs prevention among the four priorities of developing health care policies.
Although not only related to youth, the Ministry of Health has launched in 2018 a public health project entitled “Healthy Living”, which encompasses these priority fields:
- healthy nutrition
- physical activity
- mental health
- sexual and reproductive health
The Croatian Institute of Public Health is implementing the educational program HELP YES - a program for mental health literacy of educators in the field of mental health of children and youth (Edukativni program PoMoZi Da). Piloted and certified program HELP YES provide educators with valuable knowledge, skills and tools for their daily work in school and appropriate provision of initial psychological first aid and support to children and youth when needed. The program provides:
- basic knowledge of the mental health of children and young people
- basic knowledge and skills of recognizing mental health problems - emphasis on anxiety and depressive disorders
- basic knowledge and information that encourages seeking professional help
- basic knowledge and skills of providing psychological first aid through 3P steps
Croatia participates in the implementation of numerous EU projects aimed at improving and encouraging healthy lifestyles and diet among young people in Croatia:
- Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity (JANPA)
- Reducing Alcohol Related Harm (RARHA)
- Joint Action on HIV and Co-Infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT)
A new School Sport Strategy is currently being drawn up. In Croatia, sport as an activity is regulated by the Sports Act (Zakon o sportu, NN 71/06, 150/08, 124/10, 124/11, 86/12, 94/13, 85/15, 19/16, 98/19, 47/20, 77/20) . There are many regulations and documents covering physical activity but there is no national document that covers physical activity recommendations specifically for young people.
Croatia doesn’t have specific public policies targeting young people in the field of mental health improvement, although there are certain measures within public policies being implemented in Croatia on regional and local levels.