24 Jul 2018

Serbian youth sink into depression

Young people in Serbia suffer from anxiety and depression, a new survey shows. But, unlike older generations of Serbians, they are not ashamed to look for help.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbian youth sink into depression - NewsMavens
Group therapy, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

It is part of the Balkan mentality not to take mental health seriously. Most of us rarely -- or never -- visit psychologists or psychotherapists. We feel ashamed to ask for a professional help outside of our circle of friends and family. 

This unwillingness has consequences: SBB Foundation's survey showed over 50% of teenagers in Serbia suffer from anxiety, depression, have family problems and lack self-confidence. 

But young people's attitudes are slowly changing. 

The expert team of psychologists, pedagogues, psychotherapists and career advisers involved in the project of the SBB Foundation was at first surprised by openness of young people and their willingness to talk about their problems. 

So, even though it revealed some worrying data, the project suggests that Serbian teenagers need help and look for it. Which should be a cue for the government to finance free and accessible mental health services. 

Details from the story:

  • The pilot project of SBB Foundation was conducted in 18 Serbian schools. 
  • It provided free psychological and career support to 900 Serbian youngsters aged 14 to 19 over the six months period. 
  • The initially planned number of 700 young people was increased during the project due to high interest. 
  • SBB Foundation's psychotherapists say young Serbians often lack self confidence and are not aware of their capacities.
  • Another problem is that the general sense of apathy makes it difficult for them to "dream big" about what they would like to achieve in their lives. 
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