Public Defender's Statement on World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Day is: "Dignity in mental health - psychiatric and psychological first aid for everyone." Activation of this issue is important to overcome the stigma existed against persons with mental health problems, as well as their isolation and discrimination, which still represents an obstacle for them and their families.

The rights situation of persons with mental problems is not adequately protected in Georgia. Although the state has adopted the Mental Health Development Strategic Document and Action Plan for 2015-2020, its implementation is delayed. As a result, the devised goals and main values are not observed.

One of the main directions of the Public Defender is to supervise the protection of the rights of people with mental health problems. Last year, within the framework of the mentioned activities, comprehensive monitoring was conducted in psychiatric institutions, which revealed a number of problems in this field, including the lack of funding for mental health, sharp lack of human resources and qualified personnel, infrastructure problems, formal character of getting informed consent from psychiatric inpatients, problems related to involuntary inpatient care, lack/absence of alternative and community-based services, lengthy treatment at the hospital due the mentioned problem, necessity for deinstitutionalization, etc.

The Public Defender elaborated recommendations for relevant agencies in order to respond to the abovementioned challenges. Implementation of the recommendations would positively change the existent situation in the field of mental health and would facilitate improvement of the rights situation of persons with mental health problems.

The Public Defender once again urges the state to take positive actions in order protect persons with mental health problems and their families from stigma, isolation and discrimination.

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