Public Defender’s Statement on World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilize efforts at the global level. The theme of this year's Mental Health Day is "Mental health is a universal human right."

Despite some changes, we have many unsolved problems relating to the realization of the right to mental health care in Georgia, which require fundamental changes. Formal nature of informed consent for psychiatric services remains a challenge, as well as providing patients with full information on details of treatment, their rights, including appeal mechanisms against involuntary psychiatric treatment.

For years, the Public Defender has been talking about the insufficient financial and geographic accessability of mental health services, the slow pace of deinstitutionalization and the wrong practice of lengthy stay of patients in psychiatric institutions, the lack of community-based, outpatient services and housing, faulty infrastructure of institutions and unsatisfactory sanitary-hygienic conditions. This is further complicated by the scarcity of human resources, lack of individual needs-based approaches in the treatment process, lack of rehabilitation components, insufficient care for somatic health and inadequate supervision and management of side effects, especially in terms of reproductive health of women with disabilities.

The lack of services focused on strengthening people with mental health and their support network also remains a problem.

Despite the existence of stigma and stereotypes in society regarding mental health, the 2022-2030 Mental Health Development Strategy does not adequately cover the awareness component.

The Public Defender once again calls on the relevant agencies to take timely and effective steps to respond to the problems existing in the field of mental health.

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