Seriously, it can happen to all of us. Especially this year hasn’t been easy, full of stress and changes. Many of my friends had to change jobs, re-locate, cut down on their costs, close down their businesses and even the kids have been sicker than ever. I had been escorting someone dear to me to a clinic after she had a nervous break-down and needed immediate help. Surprise, surprise they spoke English and my friend got the help she needed… Do you know where to turn to if it’s late at night and you cannot cope anymore?
Sometimes we all need an escape and not all of us can do it within the family. As I mentioned before, I was suddenly in a position I could not help anymore and professional help was needed. But what do you do? If you are Czech - you get on the Internet, contact a First Help Center and off you go. What if you don’t speak Czech?
There are 2 Help Centers in Prague where they should speak English. I know for sure, that there is an English speaking Doctor in the Help Center of Bohnice Psychiatric Clinic, which is probably the biggest and most famous clinic in Prague. It is called Centrum krizové intervence and it is in one of the Pavilions of the Clinic at this address: Ustavni 91, Prague 8 - Bohnice. Walk through the main gate, carry on through the hall with the reception, walk out and turn left. It is the second building, on the first floor.
You can just walk-in…and…collapse…. You don’t need to have any recommendation from you GP and it is fully covered by all Czech Insurance companies. I met one foreign Lady in the Help Center who had been taken in after having a nervous breakdown and she was saying only positive things about the place.
The second Clinic which you can go to is called RIAPS at Chelcickeho 39, Prague 3 - opposite the hotel “Olsanka”, next to the Kindergarten. There is a sign RIAPS on the wall and you cannot miss it. It does the same thing as the first option only that Bohnice is a more complex care clinic, where you can also get longer-term help.
In case you need longer term help there is a PCP centre also in Bohnice but it does not belong to the Clinic itself. Here they treat people with diagnosed psychological illnesses such as depression, bi-polar syndrome etc. Here you can be sent from the Crisis Center or you can contact them straight away once you have been diagnosed and need further treatment. Here they will treat English-speaking patients. Their telephone number is 266 003 310 (111). I spoke with Dr. Cermak and Dr. Hesl.
The phone number: 284 016 666 will connect you to a Help Hot line where you can get immediate assistance. Here they should give you basic information in English or German. There are 16 Doctors working all together with different levels of foreign languages knowledge. You would have to be very unlucky not to get any information.
At the mentioned center you can stay for a few days, up to a week with your own thoughts, peace, everyday therapy, pottery classes and group sessions. You will be provided with a bed and food and quite nice surroundings. The floor with rooms for clients is open and you can leave anytime. It was nice to discover there is such a place where you can hide away and be looked after. Sometimes you just need to forget about the world outside and here you can get the professional help as well. The group sessions might be a bit awkward because they are in Czech but you don’t have to attend. Most important is the Doctor who will be able to speak to you and give you possible answers or treatment.
This center is providing immediate help to people with problems including: partner, personal and family difficulties; anxiety; depression; suicidal thinking; coping with the loss of a loved one; victims of crime and domestic violence; people with acute worsening of existing mental disorders; people who for the first time in their life experience symptoms of mental disorder (and help bridge the shortest time from diagnosis to acceptance disorders in psychiatric outpatient clinics).
Actually, I should mention my own experience after my second son Nikki was born. Having 2 kids, just 13 moths apart, isn’t funny and I am not a Super-Mom to go through it without a scratch. I started feeling a bit different, slowly falling into post-natal depression. One morning I woke up and I knew I was in trouble. I just needed to talk to someone professional who could tell why I was feeling so terrible. Was I only lacking lots of sleep and going nuts because of it, or was it more serious than that?
I was shocked to realise that after 1 hour of calling different clinics in Prague the first appointment was in 14 days!!!! Madness. What if I had been suicidal and needed immediate help? They would tell me: Oh well, call us in 2 weeks time… from my grave probably…
Eventually, through friends I got connected to a Doctor specialising in Post Natal Depression and after just a 5-minute conversation, she asked me to come over the very next day. I got the address, and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the gate to Bohnice (Bohnice is a Prague city district in Prague 8) Psychiatric Clinic. It actually made me smile because this clinic has been mentioned in my family since I was a little girl, mainly by my Mom calling out: You Kids will get me to Bohnice one day… :-) Bohnice is a bit of a phenomenon among Czech population and everybody knows this place. And suddenly there I was. My Kids got me to Bohnice Clinic…. :-)
NERVOUS BREAK DOWN CAUSES AND SIGNS: here
Here is a list of a few other places where else can you turn to as a foreigner in Prague:
Canadian Medical Center This clinic has a 24 hour Doctor on watch that speaks English. He is not a psychiatrist but he can help you and forward you to the right place.
BEHAR CENTER: The Behar Center belongs to PhDr Lior Behar, clinical psychologist (http://www.beharcenter.cz/about_dr_behar.php)
His office is opened Mo- Fri from 8:00 - 20:00. We both agreed that there is no 24 hours Crisis Center for missing expats in Prague. Anybody wants to open one? There is a hole in the market.
Dr. Lior was very nice and is ready to help over the phone +420 724 240 160 anytime during his opening hours. If you have an immediate problem, he is ready to receive you as soon as possible, and if he is having a session with another patient when you call, then his secretary will take the message and he will call you when he’s finished. He also provides after care. His rate is 1.200 CZK per hour and telephone consultation is for free.
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.beharcenter.cz/index.php
CHRISTIAN HELP CENTER - Community Centre Majak “The Lighthouse”
They offer instructional, educational and consulting services for children, teenagers or even for parents and schools. They do it in such a way that it contributes to healthy development of children’s and young people’s character. In cooperation with parents and schools, we participate in the prevention of a socially pathological phenomenon. They also help to solve crises and difficult situations in children’s and young people’s development. Their Goal is to help young people to regain an ability to recognize what is important in their lives and what is less important. By forming a base for free time organized or not organized activities of young people, they help to link individuals and groups and to integrate them into society.