Country, Date of election
Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in the world. The number of suicides in Lithuania increased from twenty-five per one hundred thousand in 1990 to forty per one hundred thousand in 1996. Despite a recent slight rate drop, Lithuania still leads the world in the percentage of suicides and the rate among teenagers is increasing, a fact critical to Kristina’s work. One distinguishing characteristic of this group is the lack of sufficient mental health care services these teenagers. The number of services providing more general social aid to this group is even smaller. The mental health care which is available to this group generally follows old and ineffective models which rely almost exclusively on medical treatments.
The project of Kristina is successfully continuing. The Youth Psychological Aid Centre worked for 20 years. In 2013 it was closed by elective procedures. But in this Centre grow up and strengthen 3 new and separate organization, which successfully work now: Youth line is one of the largest operating in Lithuania free emotional support by telephone and e-mails service. Since 1991, operates the service has about 350 volunteers. Crisis Intervention Center provides anonymous, urgent and accessible professional psychological help. Youth centre “We” responsible for more creative leisure and realization. Kristina sees, that impact with this 3 organizations of her started a project as continuous and long-term. The volunteering and anti-crisis are becoming more and more in demand and accredited activities in Lithuanian society.
Kristina seeks to create comprehensive support systems for teenagers with psychological problems. She sees the psychiatric system and medical treatment as a necessary component of a much broader system of support. Kristina’s approach includes community-based networks of psychological aid that are principally run by trained youth volunteers. In her model, traditional and non-traditional therapy complement and enhance each other.
In the community-based programs that Kristina designs, youth volunteers and clients work together to assume responsibility for one another. Intervention volunteers learn to better understand clients and clients receive motivation and hope from volunteers. Both groups inevitably see themselves as members of greater communities that they themselves can influence in positive ways. Kristina’s innovative programs of social psychological aid, in their various adaptations, can be implemented widely in other mental health systems.
Kristina intense interest in community-based psychological support systems stems in part from her work in a psychiatric hospital in 1980. There, Kristina found that conditions in the hospital, instead of fostering the healing of patients, often further traumatised them. Among these conditions was a lack of social support activities that could give patients help in seeing themselves connected-and eventually returned-to communities outside the hospital. Kristina realized an enormous need for a more comprehensive approach to psychological help, an approach that includes a combination of psychiatry and community-based psychological help.
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