Fokus Praha, a member of Mental Health Europe (MHE) from the Czech Republic, released a statement opposing the censorship of a webinar about mental health care reform.
On 4 December 2020, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, a professional webinar entitled Paradigm shift – lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic and the last 50 years, concerning mental health care reform, was to take place. The webinar was to be presented by internationally respected experts, one of whom (Roberto Mezzina) is a long-term collaborator of the World Health Organization (WHO) and also a member of a foreign expert team on domestic mental health care reform. However, the Ministry suspended the webinar at the request of the Psychiatric Society of the Czech Medical Society of Jan Evangelista Purkyně (PS ČLS JEP), stating that the content of the webinar must be discussed by the Expert Council for the professional guarantee of psychiatric care reform strategy.
In their joint statement, Petr Hudlička and Jan Sobotka wrote: “Part of the reform of psychiatric care is a broad discussion about the change and form of new services, which involves experts from various professions working in the context of supporting people with experience of mental ill health, but of course also people with this experience and their loved ones. It is clear that the guarantor of mental health care cannot be just one professional group, but must be the result of a broad discussion of experts from various professions and those directly involved. And everyone is directly involved in mental health. I do not know what could be more “contrary to the Psychiatric Reform Strategy” than blocking this debate. And if the Ministry of Health is to continue to be the guarantor of psychiatric care reform, it must find a way to have a broad discussion between relevant health and social service providers, other professionals involved, as well as service users and family members. Yes, we do not have the same views on everything. But that is why we need to discuss this.”