People with mental problems must be integrated into society
The Five Year Mental Health Strategy envisions a number of activities (training of specialists, needs assessment and creation of community centers) that will allow achieving such progress to satisfy those in charge of this field and the families of people with mental issues.

In April 2014 the Government has approved the 2014-2019 Strategy of Maintaining and Improving Mental Health in Armenia. Those in charge of this issue have done substantial amount of work and they believe that adopting this Strategy is very important for Armenia.

“The main objective of the Strategy is the protection of rights of people with mental health issues, their socialization and overcoming the castaway/pariah stigma,”said today Suren Chromyan, the head of staff of the Ministry of Health, at the discussion initiated by the Media Center.  He emphasized that they had defined the Strategy not as a psychiatric aid program but as a program aiming to maintain mental health with its primary objective being prevention of related issues.

“No one is protected against mental disorders and we should change our treatment of such people,” said Armen Soghoyan, the head of Armenian Psychiatric Association, who also noted that in Armenia currently there exist 46, 000 people with mental issues.

The Strategy was developed with consideration of the international experience and involvement of Jolt Bugarsku, an Open Society Foundation’s expert.  “In other countries 10-15 years are required to only start and carry on a discussion on issues of maintaining and improving mental health. In Armenia, the joint efforts of the state and civil society stakeholders allowed to expedite the discussion, the development and the approval of this important document.”

Anahit Gevorgyan, head of the Unit on the Issues of the Disabled and the Elderly under the  staff of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Issues, pointed out to the need of integrating people with mental issues in the society.  “We plan to establish two community centers-in Syuniq and in Lori. The choice of marzes is determined based on the availability of specialists in the marz, while the beneficiaries will include those residents of the marz that are affiliated with the Vardenis Neurological-Psychological Asylum and who  are in need of these services”.  

“People with mental disorders should not be isolated in distant regions; they need assistance and such assistance should be provided in their communities with consideration of their needs. In Eastern Europe people with mental issues oftentimes work and oftentimes they successfully manage their small businesses,” said Jolt Bugarski and added that very few of these people have acquired their condition genetically.  

The new Strategy emphasizes community level support to people with mental issues. It also envisions preparation of specialists working in the sphere of mental health and their involvement in home based care to people with mental issues.

On May 7  the Media Center hosted a discussion on the 2014-2019 Strategy Concept of Maintaining and Improving Mental Health. Speaker included: Jolt Bugarski, international expert on mental health issues, Hungary, OSF, Anahit Gevorgyan, deputy head of the Unit on the Issues of the Disabled and the Elderly under the  staff of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Issues, Suren Chromyan, the head of staff of the Ministry of Health, Armen Soghoyan, the head of Armenian Psychiatric Association.

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