A third of people in Serbia have mental health problems, but if we look at the last thirty years in Serbia, the civil war and the break-up of Yugoslavia, international sanctions, food shortages, inflation, the collapse of many companies, the transition, mafia clashes, the war in Kosovo, NATO bombing, the 5th of October political upheaval, the assassination of prime minister, the world economic crisis, the reduction of pensions, the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the announced energy supply problems this coming winter, there is no shortage of reasons not to suffer from mental health issues.
Research on the nation’s mental health is a rare thing in Serbia which makes the research ‘Mental Health in Serbia’ conducted by ‘GIZ’ (German Association for International Cooperation), which was conducted in 2022 on a representative sample of 1,000 people in Serbia, aged between 18 and 65, all the more important.
The authors of the research are Marko Živanović, research associate at the Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy Belgrade and PIN – Psychosocial Innovation Network, Maša Vukčević Marković, research associate at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy Belgrade and PIN, Jana Dimoski from PIN and the Research Laboratory on Individual Differences, Faculty of Philosophy Belgrade, and Matija Gvozden from the Research Laboratory on Individual Differences, Faculty of Philosophy Belgrade and PIN.
The research results showed that approximately 1/3 of the population of Serbia can be considered psychologically vulnerable. Mental health screening showed that a total of 35.4 per cent of citizens have clinically significant disorders that can be related to the symptoms of at least one disorder, while 18.4 per cent of them show symptoms clinically indicative of two or more disorders.
Females, younger age, urban environment and lower socioeconomic status are risk factors for some psychological problems. When it comes to demographic factors, gender appears to be the most important independent factor for psychological problems. That is to say, women have been shown to be associated with a higher intensity of all symptom groups with the exception of suicide, which is more associated with men.
On the other hand, the results also showed that more pronounced symptoms of depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are typical for young people.
Research results also show that at least one in three people has had a close experience with a person with mental disorders, as well as that there is a stigmatisation of people with mental disorders in Serbia.
Furthermore, there is a large percentage of people who have not sought help despite having pronounced psychological problems with as many as 1/4 of people in Serbia needing professional support due to psychological problems. Almost a third of citizens (29.6 per cent) stated that they had sought professional help at some point in their lives, with women (37 per cent) reporting more frequently that they had consulted a mental health professional during their lifetime than men (22.2 per cent).
This post is also available in: Italiano