07 April 2014
In many economically struggling societies, forensic psychiatry is still in its initial developmental stages and thus forensic patients pose an ongoing challenge for the healthcare and juridical systems. In this article, we present the various issues and problems that arose when establishing the first forensic psychiatric institute in Kosovo – a country whose population has constantly been reported as suffering from a high psychiatric morbidity due to long-lasting traumatic experiences during the war of 1999. The implementation of a new forensic psychiatric institute in the developing mental healthcare system of Kosovo, still characterized by considerable shortages, required substantial effort on various levels. On the policy and financial level, it was made possible by a clear intent and coordinated commitment of all responsible national stakeholders and authorities, such as the Ministries of Health and Justice, and by the financial contribution of the European Commission. Most decisive in terms of the success of the project was capacity building in human resources, i.e., the recruitment and training of motivated staff. Training included essential clinical and theoretical issues as well as clearly defined standard operation procedures, guidelines, and checklists to aid daily routine work and the management of challenging situations.