BG07 Programme"Public Health Initiatives"

Project leader: Assoc. Prof. Hristo Hinkov, MD, PhD

Tel: (359 2) 80 56 444, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Project deputy leader: Zachary Zarkov, MD, PhD

Tel: (359 2) 80 56 214, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Coordinators: Vladimir Nakov, MD, PhD - Sector "Mental Health", R. Dinolova – Hodzhadzhikova, MD, - Sector "Mental Health", Nikolay Shumkov, MD - Sector "Mental Health", Maya Luytskanova - Public Relations Responsible, Tsvetanka Mollova - Technical assistant and Maria Vassileva, Accountant

The project aims to improve mental health care. The total project duration is 30 months, with a term 30.04.2017. The grant is 1 000 000 EUR. Health reform in Bulgaria aims to improve the health status of Bulgarian citizens through the development of modern institutions to provide high quality medical services and financing for all. An important part of the reform is that of the mental health care, carried out in accordance with the National Mental Health Policy. Reform of mental health is connected with the primary care delivery. Key professional group for suicide prevention is the group of general practitioners (GPs), due to their close connections with the population. In the programs for specialization in general medicine mental health problems are not sufficiently represented. Therefore, the main goal of the project is to gain experience in recognizing the early signs of depression and anxiety. Thus, it is expected to achieve a reduction in suicide attempts and better quality of mental health services.

The most effective measures for the prevention of suicide go far beyond the field of medicine. The focus of the project are different professions (social workers and psychologists) as well, dealing with groups at risk of suicidal behavior: young people, the elderly, unemployed, poor, dependent people ... Therefore, prevention of suicidal acts as a social phenomenon requires the involvement of various stakeholders. The project envisages training of specialists from 28 Regional Health Inspections (RHI)in the country for collecting and entering online suicide information. It will be emphasized on the training of staff involved in school education on issues related to mental health. Two representatives of each RHI will be selected and trained in the basic principles for the prevention of suicide in schools. The final beneficiaries are vulnerable teenage young people mainly in the problem schools, which will be determined for intervention.

The aim of the project is to improve the exchange of information between different institutions.

This project involves conducting epidemiological study of the prevalence of common mental disorders in the country. The scientific evidence provided by the study will provide a basis for better policy and planning of mental health services tailored to the needs of the Bulgarian population. The study will provide a clearer picture of the dynamics of the spread of the surveyed mental disorders. The new data will be compared with the results of the first survey EPIBUL conducted in 2003 - 2007.

Increasing public awareness of mental health problems would contribute to reducing stigma and neglect in relation to persons with mental disorders, especially those who have attempted suicide. For this goal a specialized website will be created and a public awareness campaign against stigma will be carried out.