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.
Sex education is still in the development stage. The Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Protection of Minors from the Negative Impact of Public Information was adopted in 2002. It defines the criteria for public information on the mental health, physical, mental or moral development of minors in order to protect them from negative impact. It may discourage education providers discussing sensitive issues (e.g. LGBTQI+, abortion etc.) with young persons.
According to the 2020 Study on Youth Mental Health the network of interdepartmental cooperation has not been formed in Lithuania, there is a need for young persons' support system to ensure the continuity of support services for young people and their mental health monitoring and coordinating the existing network of organizations providing assistance to the individual. There is a need for professionals whose field of activity is focused specifically on youth mental health problems. The complexity of the system and the diversity of functions involved in tackling individual mental health problems among young people might also hinder the effective support to young persons.
Negative attitudes towards people with mental health ailments prevail (48.2% of the population would not want to live in the neighborhood of a person with a mental disability, and 45.2% would not want to work together); Young people avoid solving their mental health difficulties or topics related to personal mental health well-being. The study also reported that more attention is paid in Lithuania to the negative consequences of mental health (intervention), but not the causes that arise from the young person's early childhood, family, school environment etc. 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 (eg psychotherapist) services are too expensive for young people, etc.); b) telephone support (emotional support) or e-mail. measures insufficient in emergencies (e.g., the need for a youth line increased significantly during a pandemic). Young people fear stigma related to mental health, bullying, distrust psychologist, social pedagogue. Young people do not have the ability to (i) recognize mental health problems and become aware of them and (ii) consult appropriate professionals. The general education schools do not always have the conditions to ensure the confidentiality of the visits to a psychologist. Legal restrictions also exist - a young person under 16 years of age cannot apply to a psychologist without parental consent.