One of the goals of our project was to increase the number of in-patient beds in South-Estonia Mental Health Centre for Children and Youngsters. Thanks to our Norway partners (Norway Grants), Ministry of Social Affairs and Tartu University Hospital we have reached our goal.
On October 1st 2015 the new ward for adolescence was opened with a opening ceremony. There are now 12 beds for youngsters (total of 25 beds for children and adolescence) and by that we increased the volume of provided services.
The main reason for expanding is that psychiatric care of children in Estonia was available only to a limited number of patients and it is not possible to increase the availability of care with current means. According to the Estonian Psychiatric Association 12–20% of children in Estonia have psychiatric problems and less than half of them are diagnosed at first contact and only some of them are referred to a mental health specialist. As of 2011, 2533 children aged 0-19 were disabled due to mental and behavioural disorders.
Considering the small area of Estonia and the number of children and youngsters we can say that not all specific services (such as in-patient care) must be made available in every region. However, it is essential to ensure equal regional out-patient psychiatric care of children as well as the capability of first contact care and the educational system to detect relevant risk groups, and the option to refer the patient to mental health specialists.
By implementing this project we wish to improve the availability of integrated psychiatric care of children and youngsters. Integrated psychiatric care comprises in-patient and out-patient care whereas out-patient care should be provided as close to the child’s and his/her family's place of residence as possible.
This project has contributed to shaping a common approach to patients as well as principles of action that would be implemented all across Estonia.
Project “South-Estonian Mental Health Center for children and youngsters” 2013-2016 is funded by Norway Grants, Ministry of Social Affairs and Tartu University Hospital.