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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.5 Mental health

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Improving the mental health of young people

National strategy(ies)

The Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 8 February 2017 introduced the National Mental Health Protection Programme for 2017-2022 (Narodowy Program Ochrony Zdrowia Psychicznego na lata 2017 - 2022) containing both medical (referring to sick people) and social objectives (addressed to the whole population). The Programme has three main objectives: "providing people with mental disorders with multifaceted care adequate to their needs, conducting activities aimed at preventing stigmatisation and discrimination against people with mental disorders and the monitoring and evaluation of the Programme activities". The Programme targets the whole population. However, its specific objectives include one that is particularly dedicated to the young generation: "providing school children, parents and teachers with guidance and counselling". The Minister of Health is responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the document. However, it is the minister responsible for education that is authorised to act in relation to the above objective. It involves a task that is defined as "the preparation - in cooperation with the minister responsible for health - of institutional frameworks and principles of cooperation between mental health care units and educational institutions, especially with youth care centres". The Programme also contains a task that is delegated to the minister of justice: "ensuring that people in penitentiary establishments run by the criminal justice system, especially in youth offender institutions, have access to mental health care and counselling". It is also local governments that are responsible for the implementation of the Programme. At provincial level their tasks focus on updating provincial programmes aimed at improving availability and reducing inequalities in access to various forms of community mental health care, including Health and Mental Care Centres, and health care establishments for children and young people in individual provinces. Provincial programmes may be an element of regional mental health care programmes and local governments at county level are responsible for "the preparation of a local programme aimed at improving availability and reducing inequalities in access to various forms of community mental health care, including Health and Mental Care Centres, and health care establishments for children and young people in individual counties and municipalities". Under the Programme and as part of the above objective consisting in providing school children, parents and teachers with counselling and guidance, all local government units are expected "to support the development of children and young people through psychological and educational support centres providing school children, parents and teachers with psychological and educational assistance and to provide psychological and educational assistance to children and young people in nursery schools, schools and institutions". In January 2023, a new programme for years 2023-2030 has been moved to public consultations. It has not yet been formally accepted.

The National Health Programme for 2021-2025 is another document already described. One of the operational objectives of the document consists in "promoting mental health”.  As mentioned before, the word “youth” is mentioned in the entire document twice. All the same, some of the tasks indicated in the objective regarding mental health touch on the youth as a part of society. These are tasks like enacting projects and programs that are educational, preventive, behavioural, and interventionist, as well as developing informational politics regarding suicidal behaviours and their risk and prevention factors, limiting access to ways of committing suicides to limit suicides across all age groups, and introducing preventive programs aimed at preventing suicides. They also include providing help for people in mental health crises (helplines etc.), creating and enacting standards of action in situations of suicide risk, and employee education. The Minister of National Education (currently the Minister of Education and Science) is one of the bodies responsible for this objective, alongside his subordinate organizations.

Improving the mental health of young people

Previously Poland also operated the Programme for Preventing Depression in Poland in 2016-2020 (Program zapobiegania depresji w Polsce na lata 2016-2020). Although it targeted the general public, it also directly identified the most vulnerable groups, including women who have given birth and young people. The Programme was mainly focussed on prevention and raising social awareness of depression disorders. It was  for this reason that the programme proposed a number of information and educational activities targeting school children and women in maternity wards. The document was adopted in 2016 and according to its authors, it was the first systemic nationwide programme for preventing depression. However, the program is not being continued.

EDDRA and the system of recommendations endorse programmes run by the National Center for the Prevention of Addictions (Krajowe Centrum Przeciwdziałania Uzależnieniom), including (1) the Safer Into Adulthood (Program Bezpieczniej w Dorosłość) selective prevention programme for young people aged 13-19 at risk of drug addiction and social exclusion) (2) School Preventive Intervention (Szkolna Interwencja Profilaktyczna) (selective drug prevention programme for school children, proposed as brief intervention made by teachers and/or school pedagogues, (3) FreD goes net (early intervention programme for young people aged 15-21 occasionally using drugs or alcohol).