7.8 Current debates and reforms
It is widely acknowledged that the patterns of public health have changed, and that there is a constant need for new strategies and structures to reflect this change. It is increasingly recognized that greater efforts are needed to prevent ill health of young people and creating wellbeing, especially among those who are most disadvantaged as well as developing e-health services and making health facilities youth- friendly.
General program of health and sexuality education and preparation for the family in the development stage as the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Protection of Minors from the Negative Impact of Public Information defines the criteria for public information on the moral development of minors in order to protect them from negative information. The mentioned law stigmatizes sexuality education (i.e. discussing sensitive issues (LGBTQI+, abortion etc.) with young persons).
According to the 2020 Study on Youth Mental Health negative attitudes towards people with mental health ailments prevail. Particularly little attention is paid to early prevention - early parenthood education for young families, mother’s well-being during and after pregnancy, pre-school strengthening the resilience of children to mental health. Service barriers include limited access to the services a) lack of specialists (child psychiatrists, psychologists); there is no mechanisms to ensure that young people have access to quality service (sufficient number of consultations to achieve change; highly qualified specialist (e.g. psychotherapist) services are too expensive for young people, etc.); b) telephone support (emotional support) or e-mail measures are available but insufficient in emergencies. Young people fear stigma related to mental health and bullying. The general education schools do not always have the conditions to ensure the confidentiality of the young adults visits to a mental health specialists. Legal restrictions also exist - a young person under 16 years of age cannot apply to a mental health specialist without parental consent.
From September 2023, the implementation of the Life Skills General Program will start in Lithuanian schools, which is expected to contribute to strengthening the mental health of young people.