Education and workshop were held for medical students of the University of Banja Luka on 3 December 2019, as part of the project „Reducing stigma among medical students towards people with mental illness“.
,,People with mental illness face a lot of stigma in the society, which the whole community should deal with, in order to set up a normal life and show its potential’’, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Banja Luka Professor Ranko Skrbic, PhD, said. Skrbic pointed out that the workshop on reducing stigma among medical students towards people with mental illness aimed at drawing students' attention to these problems.
,, Each of us is entitled to be depressive and have moments when we are anxious, but some people get more depressive and can easily get into a phase they cannot control, and then we are talking about psychiatric disorders that can lead to more severe forms of illness’’, Dean Skrbic said prior to the beginning of the workshop, organized by Zajedno Mental Health Support Association for Families, Individuals and the Community. He noted that there is no clear boundary here, and that this problem should be addressed without prejudice. ,,We can also say that these patients are not sick, but that they are in need of some psychological or psychiatric treatment, occupational therapy, etc.“, Professor Skrbic said.
Spokesperson of Zajedno Citizens’ Association Svjetlana Opacic said that the workshop was an opportunity for people with mental health issues to meet medical students whom they could discuss their problems with and who could give them the real picture of their condition. ,,Students generally see us in the acute stages of illness when they visit psychiatry clinics, so this is a good opportunity to see us in a different light, that is, in stable stages’’, Opacic said. She emphasized that stigma towards these individuals is very present in the society and that it cannot be overcome overnight, but only through continuous work and education.
The project is supported by the Government of Switzerland, and is implemented by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Banja Luka, the Faculty of Medicine of Tuzla, the Faculty of Medicine of Foca at the University of Istocno Sarajevo, students’ associations, and the associations Most from Vitez and Feniks from Tuzla.