State Mental Health Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Mental health is important for learning, working, social development and the social cohesion of societies. Without mental health, the potential for economic growth is limited. At a time when the aims of increasing productivity and reducing social and health inequalities go hand in hand, there is an urgent need to reduce the human, social and economic costs of mental health problems by way of effectively implementing modern policies and practices.
At the beginning of independence hospital care was prevailing in Lithuania like in most post-soviet states. Out-patient structures were rather weak and usually limited to supporting treatment and referring to hospital in case of worsening of patient’s state or relapse. A decision was made to reorganize the network of mental health care. First of all Seimas (that is the Parliament of Republic of Lithuania) approved the basic laws and programmes for regulation of mental health care.
All these legal documents define conditions for providing psychiatric care, defense of patients’ rights, the basic directives and specific means for health care reform. It was established that the mainstream of the reform is to pass from the existing prevalence of in-patient care to much more developed out-patient care which is to dominate in future.
The next stage in developing the idea that mental health policy is not only a part of health care policy started after 2005. We started to pay much more attention to the biggest number of public mental health problems.