Mental Health Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The project supports the health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop a sustainable system of community-based mental health care which provides quality services for persons with mental health problems and takes measures to reduce risks of development of such problems among the population. The respect of human rights and dignity of women and men with mental health disorders, their families and of those at risk of developing such disorders shall be improved as well as social inclusion and quality of life of these persons.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mental health & well-being
Primary health care
Health systems strengthening
01.03.2018 - 28.02.2023
CHF  6’107’000
Background The burden of mental disorders among the population in BiH is considerable due to still present deep psychological scars from the war, wide social deprivation, poverty, and difficult political and economic situation. The health authorities have undertaken a reform of mental health care, focusing on the decentralization of services from hospitals to a nowadays network of 70 community-based mental health care centres, providing services to the whole population of BiH. The project has enabled the continuation of the reform which got stalled after initial achievements. The results it has achieved so far are significant but the introduced changes are yet not fully sustainable. The project final phase will ensure sustainable improvement of the performance of the mental health care system in BiH.
Objectives Social inclusion and quality of life of persons with mental health problems are enhanced and risks of development of mental health disorders are reduced among t poulation in BiH.
Target groups Direct project beneficiaries are about 700 MH professionals who work in CMHCs and psychiatric hospitals. Beneficiaries of the project are also health authorities and institutions and associations of service users. End beneficiaries are persons with mental disorders and those at risk of developing MH problems, notably belonging to disadvantaged and socially excluded groups.
Medium-term outcomes
  • Capacities for planning and monitoring in mental health have been enhanced.
  • Mechanisms for refferal of service users within the health sectro and between sectors are established.
  • Rehabilitation and recovery-oriented services (occupational therapy, care coordination, family therapy, supported housing) have been enhanced.
  • Capacities for the work with children and adolescents have been enhanced.
  • Preventive and promotional programmes include a multisectoral approach and are based on the community needs.
  • Awareness and responsiveness of the media when reporting about mental health issues have been increased.
  • Capacities of service users’ associations for creating gender sensitive programmes in the field of social inclusion and fight against stigma have been increased.
  • Models for integration of persons with mental problems in the labor market have been developed

Expected results:  

- Entity mental health strategies have been developed and policy and regulatory framework brought in line with European standards.

- The hospital referrals rate of patients has decreased by 30% and hospital readmissions reduced up to 50% in 43 (66%) community mental healthcare centers accredited for meeting set quality standards.

- 2,735 (48% f) persons with severe mental disorders have benefited from the case management approach and 69% of them show significant recovery and improved quality of life.

- Studies in occupational therapy have been opened at two public universities and this therapy is now being provided by 74% of centres.

- Over 2,500 persons at risk have benefited from prevention and promotion programs in mental health in their communities.

- 350 (48% f) persons with mental disorders have benefited from social inclusion activities

- 34 (15 f) persons with mental disorders have benefited from paid engagement in two pilot social entrepreneurship models.

Results from previous phases:  

1. Health authorities and care providers ensure quality and continuity of care in mental health in a sustainable way.

2. Persons with mental health problems and those at risk of developing these problems, and their families, including children and adolescents, benefit from effective and gender sensitive community-based mental health services.

3. Persons with mental health problems increasingly participate in economic, social and cultural life of their community. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO

Other partners
Association XY (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Coordination with other projects and actors Besides relevant ministries, the project closely cooperates with the public health institutes, health insurance funds, agencies for quality and accreditation on health, mental health facilities, schools and universities, association of mental health service users, and the media. Synergies with other SDC-funded projects are ensured: the Strengthening Nursing Project, Reducing Health Risk Factors Project, Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Gender Equitable Attitudes among Young Men and Women Project, Strengthening the Role of Local Communities Project, Youth for Change and Youth Employment Project. 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    6’107’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    5’573’149
Project phases Phase 3 01.03.2018 - 28.02.2023   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.03.2014 - 28.02.2018   (Completed) Phase 1 05.06.2009 - 28.02.2014   (Completed)