Posted on 10 Oct, 2023 by Heiko Königstein & Cornelia Ciofu

Today, on 10 October, the annual Mental Health Day is commemorated in Ukraine, too. In this context, a recent exchange of experiences is remarkable. On September 11-15, two projects supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) joined forces to facilitate the transfer of best practices within the region. One of them is the Mental Health for Ukraine (MH4U) project, implemented by GFA, and the other is the Support for the Reform of Mental Health Services in Moldova (MENSANA) project, led by the TRIMBOS Institute of Mental Health and Addiction from the Netherlands.

The primary goal of this collaboration was to help Ukrainian professionals visit the Republic of Moldova in order to gain valuable insights that could be adapted and applied in Ukrainian mental health services. Ultimately, this should develop a scalable and nationwide model of care, ensuring that the population receives the quality mental health services they desperately need at the community level.

A total of 20 professionals from existing and planned mental health centers, managers of primary health facilities (polyclinics), and officials from the Ministry of Health and health departments in the Ukrainian regions Lviv, Chernivsty, Rivne, Dnipro, and Kyiv participated in a study tour to Moldova. They visited several community mental health centers and a clinical psychiatric hospital in the country. They also engaged in fruitful discussions with representatives from the Ministry of Health in Moldova and the project team of MENSANA.

The feedback from all participants was overwhelmingly positive in terms of the relevance to their work in Ukraine. Notably, they highlighted the advantages of adopting a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, and a well-organized referral system that incorporates family medicine. By embracing such practices, they recognized the potential to enhance mental health services in their own communities.

As such collaborative experiences foster knowledge exchange within the region, they bring neighboring countries together and leverage existing expertise and lessons learned. In this case, Ukrainian and Moldovan professionals together strive towards the creation of improved mental health services at the community level.

> Visit the MH4U website

> Detailed information in the MH4U factsheet