NGO: There are over 200,000 people with disabilities in Romania; more investment needed in social services

Anca Alexe 19/01/2018 | 10:54

According to data from the National Authority for Disabled People, the number of individuals with mental and physical disabilities in Romania was over 200,000 last year. The information was centralised by Estuar Foundation, who warns that the lack of investment in social services leads to a reduction in their quality of life, writes news.ro.

The foundation’s statement says: “Social services for the disabled are insufficient, not adapted to their recovery and inclusion needs and not adequately financed. With the exception of a few public-private initiatives (such as the partnership between the Estuar Foundation and social assistance services in sectors 6 and 4 of Bucharest), there are no social services which give the necessary support for a balanced and dignified life in the community. This is also confirmed by Mental Health Europe, one of the most important European federations in the field, in their recent report on services and institutional practices in mental health in several countries in Europe”.

The organisation believes that there are at least three directions that need to be tackled by the political and institutional decision-makers who are involved in the subject. The first refers to the responsibility that needs to be taken by the support system for people with mental health issues, formed of state structures, NGOs and the entire community – a better legal framework is needed regarding the permanent support measures that the state needs to take.

The development and implementation of social services dedicated to the needs of people with mental health issues, as well as the allocation of adequate financial resources, are essential for the recovery process and the prevention of incidents. This includes services such as residential centres, day centres for adults with mental health issues, mobile crisis intervention teams, transit centres, protected apartments, counselling and family support, vocational counselling.

The second direction, which is equally important, is the creation of a prevention and early intervention system. This system should identify vulnerabilities and conditions that lead to mental health issues, to detect symptoms in a timely manner and create a legal framework for the management of these issues.

The third area that needs work is educating the community in order to improve prevention regarding mental health and the integration of people with mental health issues who are already in treatment, according to the NGO.

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