Danish Initiative for Children Struggling with Mental Health Sparks Interest in Ukraine

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As politicians in Denmark meet to discuss an easily accessible national service for children and adolescents confronting mental health challenges, a delegation from Ukraine is visiting the Mental Health Foundation Denmark to learn more about the Mind My Mind programme. Currently rolled out in 10 Danish municipalities, the service is to be expanded this year.

The Ukrainian delegation was very eager to understand the perspectives of the programme Mind My Mind. No. 4, 5 and 6 from the left are the chairman of the board of Mental Health Foundation Denmark Torsten Bjørn Jacobsen, director Marianne Skjold, and head of research, clinical professor Pia Jeppesen. Next to her is the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Oksana Zbitnieva, who is head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and head of the ngo "BARRIERFREE".
The Ukrainian delegation was very eager to understand the perspectives of the programme Mind My Mind. No. 4, 5 and 6 from the left are the chairman of the board of Mental Health Foundation Denmark Torsten Bjørn Jacobsen, director Marianne Skjold, and head of research, clinical professor Pia Jeppesen. Next to her is the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Oksana Zbitnieva, who is head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and head of the ngo "BARRIERFREE".

On Wednesday, a delegation comprising 15 representatives from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, the country's Centre for Mental Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit the Mental Health Foundation Denmark in Copenhagen in order to learn more about the Mind My Mind programme. The programme, developed and tested by the Mental Health Foundation Denmark in collaboration with TrygFonden, is an evidence-based and easily accessible treatment option for children and young people exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, depression, and/or behavioural difficulties. The programme has undergone testing in three regions and four municipalities as part of a comprehensive research study.   

The study has reported significant findings, leading to the results being published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in December 2020. Currently, the Mind My Mind service for children and young people who are struggling to thrive is offered by 10 Danish municipalities and the European Commission has recently awarded the programme a place in its catalogue of 'Best practice' for the leading and most effective mental health interventions.  

Evident and concering that Ukrainian children suffer
The Ukrainian delegation is eager to learn more about Mind My Mind as a potential resource for children and young people in the country, which has been at war with Russia since February 2022.  

"It is evident and concerning that children in Ukraine are suffering. Under the current circumstances, the mental health situation in our country is under significant pressure. That's why it's important for us to visit a country like Denmark, where there is a well-functioning mental health system with services that help children and adolescents confronting mental health challenges by providing the right help promptly, in an easily accessible manner and using proven treatment methods and programmes. For this reason we eagerly anticipate our visit to the Danish Health Authority and the Mental Health Foundation Denmark. We will receive an introduction to the Mind My Mind method, which has been meticulously developed and tested," says head of the Ukrainian delegation, Oksana Zbitnieva, who is head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and head of the ngo "BARRIERFREE".

Ukraine seeks inspiration to implement sustainable mental health initiatives
In September 2023, the WHO contacted the National Board of Health on behalf of the National Mental Health Centre of Ukraine, which operates under the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. Ukraine signalled an interest in organising a study trip to Denmark to gain insight into the Danish mental health system. Ukraine is dedicated to mental health and aims to develop and implement sustainable, long-term mental health initiatives. Seeking inspiration from other countries, Ukraine is committed to this important work.   

Hope for first step towards collaboration
The National Board of Health suggested the Mental Health Foundation Denmark as an ideal destination for the visit. Director Marianne Skjold expressed her delight that the foundation has been given the opportunity to showcase Mind My Mind, an easily accessible programme designed for children and young people suffering from poor mental health, to the Ukrainian delegation.   

"We take great pride in what we have accomplished with the programme. The presentation on Mind My Mind by our head of research, Pia Jeppesen, Clinical professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Copenhagen University Hospital, generated considerable interest and engagement among the attendees. We hope that this is just the first step in fostering greater collaboration between our two countries with regard to sharing effective practices. Certainly, there is no question that there is an immense need for assistance and treatment services, especially for Ukrainian children and young people. And this is where a programme like Mind My Mind can play a vital role," Marianne Skjold emphasises.  

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The Ukrainian delegation was very eager to understand the perspectives of the programme Mind My Mind. No. 4, 5 and 6 from the left are the chairman of the board of Mental Health Foundation Denmark Torsten Bjørn Jacobsen, director Marianne Skjold, and head of research, clinical professor Pia Jeppesen. Next to her is the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Oksana Zbitnieva, who is head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and head of the ngo "BARRIERFREE".
The Ukrainian delegation was very eager to understand the perspectives of the programme Mind My Mind. No. 4, 5 and 6 from the left are the chairman of the board of Mental Health Foundation Denmark Torsten Bjørn Jacobsen, director Marianne Skjold, and head of research, clinical professor Pia Jeppesen. Next to her is the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Oksana Zbitnieva, who is head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and head of the ngo "BARRIERFREE".
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