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Mental Health Awareness

How's Budapest, or Hungary, when it comes to dealing with mental health and illnesses like depression, PTSD, etc.? Is the country open when it comes to mental health awareness?

Oh it's very open, your employer will gladly open the door for you (on the way out) if your condition affects your performance.

atomheart :

Oh it's very open, your employer will gladly open the door for you (on the way out) if your condition affects your performance.

How true is this? And doesn't Hungary have laws to protect employees from discrimination like this?

kiros0027 :
atomheart :

Oh it's very open, your employer will gladly open the door for you (on the way out) if your condition affects your performance.

How true is this? And doesn't Hungary have laws to protect employees from discrimination like this?

There are laws against discrimination based on health, but an employer can get around that and fire an employee for reasons of performance alone, without regard to the reason.

Full Hungarian employment law:

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/employm … 17/hungary

Side note: Don't expect the courts here to help you much unless you have a water tight case.

Can not say specifically. But sadly Hungary has one of the highest rates of suicided in the EU. Might be a connection. And winters can be long and overcast, which can make even those with a sunny disposition at times depressed.

More generally, I would not recommend anyone come to Hungary with any preexisting chronic condition that requires medical treatment.

klsallee :

Can not say specifically. But sadly Hungary has one of the highest rates of suicided in the EU. Might be a connection. And winters can be long and overcast, which can make even those with a sunny disposition at times depressed.

More generally, I would not recommend anyone come to Hungary with any preexisting chronic condition that requires medical treatment.

To be honest, I am diagnosed with clinical depression and I need continuous medical treatment. I asked other people regarding Hungary, and they told me that the country takes health care seriously.

I am planning right after I intiated my job there, I will be visiting a resident doctor/psychiatrist so that I can have a check up using the social security and continue my life there.

From your statement, the health care of the country sucks.

The issue is not the quality of the doctors. Most medical doctors in Hungary are competent (with exceptions of course). I do not know about non-MDs such as psychologists.

But if you are national health (like I am), the doctors, nurses, etc. are underpaid (so will expect a "tip" in cash for their services), and public hospitals are underfunded. In fact, our local hospital was closed recently. Oh, and the ambulance EMTs are basically in the news lately "striking" about their low pay as well. Not fun thinking the person in the ambulance that has your life in their hands is a bit annoyed with not being paid enough by the government run health system. I can not say the government is taking health care seriously.

And you can not pick your doctor when on national health, but must use the locally assigned ones based on where you live. You have to go to that doctor first to get any referral to a specialist, whom you also can not pick.

A few personal examples:

- One elderly person my wife knows fell hit and his head. Bleeding, he had to take the bus to the hospital because the only two available ambulances were busy. Head injuries are potentially life threatening.

- Our house renovating contractor's son broke his jaw. Since our local hospital was now closed he had have his father drive him over the locally bumpy roads an hour to the nearest hospital. He was declared not a critical enough case to go by ambulance. He said he felt every bump in is broken jaw as excruciating pain.

- My wife had a internal infection that went to her bone. The doctor just sat behind his desk, stamping paperwork, asking questions, not once even physically examining her.

- Neighbor up the road cut her toe. She went to the doctor. Told to go home. It got infected. Then she had to go to the hospital where they cut off the toe. Then her leg. Then they buried her.

- Both my wife's parents were MDs. My mother in law had a serious illness the last years of her life, but refused to go to a hospital or hospice care knowing the sub par quality of care she would expect to receive. She died at home.

Private medical insurance, hospitals and doctors that many expats use are different. You should expect more there. But that is also much more expensive.

Personally, I would be okay having surgery in Hungary if the hospital was a quality one. The surgeons are okay (my father in law was a surgeon). But I have been less impressed by GPs as diagnosticians. I would rather pay to see a specialist of my choice out of my pocket then get diagnosed by the local GP I am first required to visit.

But note: I am comparing this based on my experiences of western medical experience (I lived in Switzerland for years, for example). For some people coming to Hungary from other countries, the medical care might be a significant improvement and step up from what they are used to. It is all relative.

klsallee :

The issue is not the quality of the doctors. Medical doctors in Hungary are competent. I do not know about non-MDs such as psychologists.

But if you are national health (like I am), the doctors, nurses, etc. are underpaid (so will expect a "tip" in cash for their services), and public hospitals are underfunded. In fact, our local hospital was closed recently. Oh, and the ambulance EMTs are basically in the news lately "striking" about their low pay as well. Not fun thinking the person in the ambulance that has your life in their hands is a bit annoyed with not being paid enough by the government run health system. I can not say the government is taking health care seriously.

And you can not pick your doctor when on national health, but must use the locally assigned ones based on where you live. You have to go to that doctor first to get any referral to a specialist, whom you also can not pick.

A few personal examples:

- One elderly person my wife knows fell hit and his head. Bleeding, he had to take the bus to the hospital because the only two available ambulances were busy. Head injuries are potentially life threatening.

- Our house renovating contractor's son broke his jaw. Since our local hospital was now closed he had have his father drive him over the locally bumpy roads an hour to the nearest hospital. He was declared not a critical enough case to go by ambulance. He said he felt every bump in is broken jaw as excruciating pain.

- My wife had a internal infection that went to her bone. The doctor just sat behind his desk, stamping paperwork, asking questions, not once even physically examining her.

- Neighbor up the road cut her toe. She went to the doctor. Told to go home. It got infected. Then she had to go to the hospital where they cut off the toe. Then her leg. Then they buried her.

- Both my wife's parents were MDs. My mother in law had a serious illness the last years of her life, but refused to go to a hospital or hospice care knowing the sub par quality of care she would expect to receive. She died at home.

Private medical insurance, hospitals and doctors that many expats use are different. You should expect more there. But that is also much more expensive.

But note: I am comparing this based on my experiences of western medical experience (I lived in Switzerland for years, for example). For some people coming to Hungary from other countries, the medical care might be a significant improvement and step up from what they are used to. It is all relative.

I do not know what to feel regarding the current state of health care there. But I think the best for me will be in the private medical part. How much is the usual checkup, and the so called "tips" to be given in an MD like psychiatrist?

kiros0027 :

I do not know what to feel regarding the current state of health care there. But I think the best for me will be in the private medical part. How much is the usual checkup, and the so called "tips" to be given in an MD like psychiatrist?

The tip issue and how much to pay is one of constant confusion and debate among expats, since it is often expected, but actually not exactly "sanctioned". It often is given in "little brown envelopes", if you know what I mean.

But, personally, and this is just me (and I am in the minority here), tips are only for national heath or insurance related visits. I would not pay a tip to a private doctor or dentist I am paying in full out of my pocket. They should bill me fully for their services and give me a receipt. But like I said, for that reason, it is much more expensive.

Just to echo some of what's been said. 

GPs - Local doctor told Mrs Fluffy's cousin he had cancer - a rare form of blood cancer similar to leukemia.  Went to a doctor in another country and was diagnosed twice with something completely different (and less life threatening). As he works abroad anyway, he's having his treatment in the foreign country.

Psychiatrists -  I doubt the state will help very much at all. I would trust the private docs more.  It'll cost you money. 

Kids - we've had various differences of opinion with GPs over one of our Fluffyette's recurrent  sore throats.  GP says tonsils out, private doctor (expensive) says leave them in as children grow out of tonsil problems and tonsils necessary protection.  GPs don't have diagnostic equipment to tell how serious some infections are but private doctors do.    Also, state provides some vaccinations for potential fatal diseases like meningitis but for some strains (which do occur in Hungary), they don't (and people die as a result).   We paid privately for our kids to be fully vaccinated.

Risk of death - unfortunately higher in Hungary. Mrs Fluffy's uncle died of incompetence but no inquest or coroner's reports pointed the finger at the medics.  They close ranks.

Suicide - for some reason the Hungarians feel the urge to kill themselves a lot - including one we know just a few weeks ago.  Must be some reason for it but no-one knows for sure why the rate is so high in Hungary. 

Weird -  some people in Hungary are very odd.  There are famous cases in HU of people doing things like trying to live off sunlight (and dying in the process).  OK, some people do that elsewhere (case in point, recent case in Belgium) but really, you'd think such a highly educated population like that HU would not do such stupid things.

Politics - very difficult with some dangerously off the wall policies and thinking.

Do you have any idea how much is the usual checkup on a private doctor?

kiros0027 :

Do you have any idea how much is the usual checkup on a private doctor?

Dunno but kids doctor charges about 40-50 EUR per consultation but that's not mental health.

Psychiatrist, don't know for sure but if you search the forums here, you can Google for English speaking psychiatrists in Budapest, then you can e-mail them.  Some other posters in these forums were asking about it before. 

Try here: Psychiatrist

Thanks guys!

kiros0027 :

And doesn't Hungary have laws to protect employees from discrimination like this?

What discrimination? If you performance doesn't meet you employer's expectations, why would he keep you on payroll?

atomheart :

What discrimination? If you performance doesn't meet you employer's expectations, why would he keep you on payroll?

You have a point on this one. But when it comes to performance, it is somewhat also affected by workplace bullying or retaliation, for example. What I am asking is there any Hungarian law that protects employees from such scenarios?

kiros0027 :

But when it comes to performance, it is somewhat also affected by workplace bullying or retaliation, for example. What I am asking is there any Hungarian law that protects employees from such scenarios?

Depends on what you meant by "bullying or retaliation". If you're unsociable or miffy or in any way disturbingly weird at the workplace, your peers will ostracize you, then your superior will see that as you unable to adapt and let you go...

In general don't rely too much on the law, everybody knows you don't have the knowledge and funds to seek legal remedy.

atomheart :

....In general don't rely too much on the law, everybody knows you don't have the knowledge and funds to seek legal remedy.

On the other hand, in Germany,  the lawyers are very switched on to labour laws and almost inevitably you'll get compensation if they squeeze you out through bullying or intimidation.  They get around it by having you on probation for several months.

In my experience and that of other foreign friends based in Hungary all health services are very hit and miss as they can be in the uk if you don't speak the language and are perhaps in a city area.
I've heard bad reports about private and public services and out in the countryside they even exclude people with all the right paperwork.
I would never tip anyone   principle but some. Of the elderly Hungarians I know do tip heavily because they are afraid of the consequences.
There is a lot of ignorance about mental health issues and without good friends and family around you are more likely not to get the support that you need. 
I have also met a few people who are barking mad and no one has picked up on it least of all themselves. No insult is intended but if you are ill with a chronic condition it is probably better to stay with the health service you know because if you get ill here no one will pick up on it.
Since being employed in Hungary I have heard some stories about discrimination in the workplace and have come to the conclusion that I am lucky to be fit and well and I would not stay here otherwise.
However if you are part of a Hungarian family or you are in a good job you may link into better services.

anns :

I would never tip anyone

Is this a British thing?

anns :

but some. Of the elderly Hungarians I know do tip heavily because they are afraid of the consequences..

FWIIW, every Hungarian I know tips when using national health here because quality of care can change if one does not. Right or wrong. That is how it is here. But how much to tip is what is the infuriating issue. I, at least personally, am not aware of a standard tipping rate. This puts everyone off balance and unsure, and makes the tipping system open for abuse.

klsallee :
anns :

I would never tip anyone

Is this a British thing?

No, I tip because if I don't I'll get less attention next time.  I don't tip private doctors.

klsallee :
anns :

but some. Of the elderly Hungarians I know do tip heavily because they are afraid of the consequences..

.....But how much to tip is what is the infuriating issue. I, at least personally, am not aware of a standard tipping rate. This puts everyone off balance and unsure, and makes the tipping system open for abuse.

I agree.  The HU people seem to know this intuitively whereas I am always guessing.  I've taken to rounding up German style.

Yes it could be a British thing because in the uk we have had a National Health Service which has worked well for most people and the population make contributions towards it. Currently such services are under threat so it will be interesting to see how UK people tip or don't tip on the future. Also many people working in public services get paid well anyway. My UK dentist would be very insulted if I offered a tip but such places often have charity boxes on the reception desk if you should choose to donate.

Regarding the "health system" in Hungary, I just read this editorial :

https://mno.hu/vezercikk/vilagszinvonal … ag-2405038

You can use Google Translate to place it in English. And doing that, you see things like:

"Just two weeks ago, a report by the State Health Care Supply Coordinator said that in 2014, for example, more than 32,000 deaths (26 percent of total deaths) could have been avoided with better care systems and effective public health action."

Some lines may not make sense, and that is because the back story so well reported in Hungary the author did not bother to mention it. Such as:

"Jahn Ferenc's Hospital of South Pest Hospital No. 3 was closed, as the workers there opted for the much cheaper furniture store."

What happened there was the hospital staff left to go to work elsewhere (at Ikea if I remember correctly), where they were paid better than at the hospital.

Not good. Not good at all.

Good advice, no one with any pre existing physical or mental condition should move to any new country where they do not speak the language or know the system.
How can a therapist speak and fully understand what up if many things get lost in translation?
I know several Hungarians or rather knew them who at one time or the other moved to the US and then returned to HUngary to live. 3 of them basically offed themselves, drinking was their way out.
I went to ones funeral, my husband went to 2 of them and the other we were in contact with the family, the daughter who was left alone afterwards...
We now live in Budapest across the st. from a hospital that is a hospice and a drunk./mental tank.
Way, way back when my husband was only 18 or 19 and lived in Budapest in the old commie days, he was given homemade palinka at work from some older men . He wanted to show off so he swallowed half a bottle, it was one of the guys birthday's and he wanted to drink to his health.
Husband walked into the shower area at work to wash and dress into his st. clothing. Got in the shower, bent over to pick up the soap he dropped and that was it. Blacked out. Woke up the next day inside the hospital across from where we now live! ( another good reason to never bend over to pick up the soap!)
Couldn't figure out why he was naked and chained to a bed! Sounds a bit kinky but that's it.
Had to wait until a doc came in and asked him why he wanted to off himself, he said he didn't and they let him go.
Had to call his work mates to bring him some clothing as he was in his birthday suit!!!
He was sent a bill at his parents address for the "treatment".
I still hear people screaming sometimes from the hospital, once for 2 days in a row I clearly heard a female voice screaming in English to let her go. She would go on for 45 mins or so then all quiet. Guess they shut her up one way or the other... I was thinking of trying to go over and see how she was, it was upsetting to hear her cries. Thought the better of it, didn't want to have them hold me for getting in the way... Again, no idea how the system is and don't plan on finding out over here.

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