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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

Last update: 27 March 2024

The main governmental authority responsible for youth health and well-being is the Ministry of Health (MH). Other public actors also participate in the creation of public policies, including advisory bodies, agencies, and governmental institutions such as the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, the Croatian Institute of Public Health (CIPH), regional public health institutes, the Ministry of Science and Education, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

Within the National Youth Programme 2023-2025, one of the priority areas is ‘Health and the Crisis Caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic’. The programme highlights that even before the pandemic, the mental health conditions of children and young people posed a public health challenge. The pandemic has further burdened the already strained mental health care system. There is an additional imperative to empower those in regular contact with children and young people. Three measures are proposed: 

  • protecting and improving youth health during and after the pandemic
  • enhancing mental health literacy for all relevant stakeholders working with young people
  • preventing obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles

Besides the one priority area outlined in the National Youth Programme 2023-2025, there is currently no specific strategy addressing youth health and well-being. However, related strategies do exist, including the National Health Development Plan 2021-2027. 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, emphasising the priority of preventing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Health 2020 serves as a strategic framework for developing health care policies. It prioritises the prevention of NCDs among the four key aspects of health care policy development. 

While not exclusively focused on youth, in 2018, the MH initiated a public health project Healthy Living. This project encompasses the following priority areas: 

  • healthy nutrition

  • physical activity
  • mental health
  • sexual and reproductive health

The CIPH implements the educational programme PoMoZi Da – a programme aimed at enhancing the mental health literacy of educators in the field of mental health for children and youth. Piloted and certified, the programme equips educators with valuable knowledge, skills, and tools for their daily work in school, ensuring the appropriate provision of initial psychological first aid and support to children and youth when needed. The programme provides: 

  • basic knowledge of the mental health of children and young people
  • basic knowledge and skills for recognising mental health problems, with a focus on anxiety and depressive disorders
  • basic knowledge and information that encourages seeking professional help
  • basic knowledge and skills for providing psychological first aid through 3P steps (approach - support - strengthen)

Croatia participates in the implementation of several European Union projects aimed at improving and promoting healthy lifestyles and diets among young people:

In Croatia, sport as an activity is regulated by the Sports Act. While there are numerous regulations and documents addressing physical activity, there is currently no national document providing physical activity recommendations specifically for young people.

Croatia lacks specific public policies targeting the improvement of mental health among young people. However, certain public policy measures are being implemented on regional and local levels in the country.

The Strategic Framework for the Development of Mental Health until 2030 under Objective 3 has ‘Preservation and Improvement of Mental Health in Preschool, School Institutions, and the Academic Community’, the outlined measures emphasise that the health and well-being of children, pupils, and students, along with education, constitute a fundamental area of responsibility for all employees in the education sector. Youth-oriented measures mandate:

  • developing and establishing online support through digital applications for mental health care that can connect different levels and aspects of care and provide support to young people
  • active planning and implementation programmes to support and monitor the psychological functioning of children and young people in transitional and crisis situations and circumstances
  • active planning and implementing preventive and intervention programmes aimed at reducing all forms of violent and abusive behaviours in schools, addressing behaviours of insufficient self-regulation of young people's emotional states, preventing the development of addictive behaviours – especially regarding digital media, and strengthening prosocial and insufficiently developed behaviours