Inside Croatia’s Pioneering Mental Health Center

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From The Guardian: The oldest asylum in the Balkans has now been transformed into an unlocked mental health center. The patients have begun living in the community with in-home services and supports.

“It is 10 years since Croatia signed the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but Osijek is the only one of Croatia’s 24 mental health institutions, which house a total of 6,700 people, implementing its spirit. ‘We signed this with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The government still wants people locked up, locked away. People with disabilities, whether mental health or physical, have rights. There are four reasons why inclusion is better than exclusion,’ said Lamza. ‘It’s better for a person, it’s better for the community, it’s legal, it’s cheaper.’ He says the cost per person per month in an institution is $1,260 (£950). ‘In the community, even with the maximum 24-hour support, it is $1,020.'”

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