Asta Dervinyte-Bongarzoni1

1Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychaitric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania


When leaving a country is not based in one’s self-will, but in an attempt to avoid threats to himself/herself or his/her family live, this event is defined as forced migration. In this work we give a brief overview of the mental health needs of foreigners, who were forced to leave their country, and examine the guidelines for the organization of support systems. In Lithuania Mental Health care for foreigners is provided under the public network of institutions for mental health. Nowadays, difficulties in comprehension between physicians and patients are common. Challenges are rooted in the collision of cultural differences in the treatment of and behaviors associated with illness, linguistic isolation, restrictions of the patient explaining his/her needs and utilizing professional services. During the critical period of linguistic isolation, when the foreigner has poor levels of a native language in receiving country, cultural mediation professionals can help solve difficulties in accessing and utilising psychiatric services. In 2017 The Centre of Oriental Studies, Vilnius University has started a course of cultural mediation for its MA students. The course credits for practice of cultural mediation are planned to be delivered at the day centre of Caritas. Cultural particularities influence the behavior of the patient and his/her experience of illness, as well as the relation between the patient and the physician, and the acceptance of the proposed medical treatment. The growth of multicultural dimensions of society require mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) to continuously deepen their cultural awareness and to regularly improve their knowledge in cultural psychiatry. On these grounds, a new professional training course on cultural psychiatry was introduced in the Medicine Faculty of Vilnius University in 2015. Considering the current trends of migration to Eastern and Northern Europe, the course is aimed to discuss these in relation to Asian and Middle Eastern societies.

Poster Session