The collapse of communism in the CEE region 30 years ago was the start of a long-term process of sociopolitical change, in which a major transformation of the mental health system was expected. Unfortunately, this transformation is not yet complete. For example, in Poland people with severe mental illnesses and disabilities are treated in large psychiatric institutions and lack access to community-based care. The stigma around people with severe illnesses remains higher there than in Western European countries (according to The Lancet Psychiatry): they face exclusion on many levels and often remain marginalized. It is crucial that mental illnesses is seen, by both academic researchers and journalists, as not just a biological fact but also a societal and cultural phenomenon.
Anna Kiedrzynek is a journalist at Newsweek Polska in Warsaw. Currently she is a Milena Jesenská Visiting Fellow at the IWM.
Comments by Eric Reinhart, IWM Junior Visiting Fellow
Moderated by Ludger Hagedorn, IWM Permanent Fellow