Czech Mental Health Institute launches initiative to help transgender people cope with anxiety, depression

Transgender people are increasingly threatened with mental illnesses and suicidal tendencies, a spokesperson for the institute said.


Written by ČTK Published on 02.07.2021 12:35:00 (updated on 02.07.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Klecany near Prague, July 2 (ČTK) - Experts from the Czech Mental Health Institute (NUDZ) have prepared a project to help in a situation where transgender people are increasingly threatened with mental diseases such as depression and anxiety, NUDZ spokesman Jan Červenka told ČTK today.

Within the project, 180 experts will be trained to deal with the issue and release relevant information to the public, Červenka said, adding that a new book has been launched to raise awareness of the issue.

Transgender people are those whose gender differs from the sex they were born with.

Suicidal tendencies and inclination for self-harm appear in up to half of the transgender people who are clients of therapeutical services in the Czech Republic, as a result of their emotional pain, trauma, minority stress, social isolation, etc., experts say.

Data on the share of transgender people in the population differ, the estimates ranging from 0.3 to 4 percent of the population.

"People can start realizing their gender disharmony anytime, often since their childhood. It is no matter of fashion... In other cultures, gender diversity was often perceived as something normal and respectable," NUDZ doctor Pavla Doležalová said.

Two years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved a resolution to remove sexual identity disorder from its list of international diagnoses. It has been newly defined as gender disharmony.

"In practice, this will help reduce the social stigmatization, traumatization, and systemic forcibility, and make the necessary healthcare and surgeries accessible. It will also help remove discrimination and the persisting barriers in the access to preventive services, HIV testing, and aftercare," Doležalová said.

Only one study about the issues transgender people face has been released in the Czech Republic so far. It showed that transgender people most often have a negative experience with experts in the assisting professions such as doctors, psychologists, sexologists, priests, and others.

NUDZ hopes the situation will improve with the help of the SWITCH project launched last year and running through 2022, which focuses on the training of experts and upgrading the public's awareness of the issues those who identify as transgender face.

A new book has debuted in connection with the project and is available for free on the NUDZ website, in libraries, universities, and partner organizations across the Czech Republic, Doležalová said.

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