On tuesday, the 5th of November 2019., a lecture called “Mental health of young people facing cancer” was held in the red hall of the Institute of mental health.
The introductory speech was given by Snežana Klašnja of The Ministry of youth and sport, which has financially supported the project with the idea that six young people, who have been treated for cancer and have passed REBT center training, provide help to their peers through www.mladice.org online platform. Speaking in front of the Institute of mental health, Docent Jelena Radosavljev Kirćanski highlighted that it’s hard do find relevant data containing the information about the mental health of the youth in Serbia. She also noted that young people, when reaching out for help, turn to their peers first, then to family, and only finally seek help from professionals, mostly because of the stigma attached to adressing experts in the area of mental health. Dragana Radulović of the association “Čika Boca” spoke about the motivation behind the project – a suicide attempt of a young person with cancer which has motivated her and the MladiCe organization to try and prevent other young cancer patients to see suicide as a solution. Milica Šimonović and Milkica Dimitrijević of the MladiCe group further elaborated on the subject and talked about challenges brought upon by cancer treatment, and its consenquences, which can not only be physical, emotional, social, and have a negative effect on self-image, self-confidence, education, finding employment, relationships and family planning but also symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder such as depression and anxiety. Zorica Marić, REBT psychoterapist, has spoken about the education MladiCe received, and also about the importance of peer support for the youth, as well as the justification of that support being provided online.
At the end of the lecture, the participants encouraged everyone attending to spread the information about the online platform www.mladice.org, so that the young cancer patients and those who have finished cancer treatment know they have their peers they can reach out to and seek help.