Persons with mental health problems still face discrimination and social isolation12:06, October 10, 2017 | News, Own news | Prohibition of Discrimination, Rights of Patients
October 10 is the International Mental Health Day. It was approved on the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by the World Health Organization and is celebrated since 1992.
In recent years, more and more issues of public policies in mental health and human rights situation are voiced. In RA, persons with mental health problems are still vulnerable in terms of human rights protection. They still face discrimination and social isolation.
According to the findings of the monitoring carried out by HCA Vanadzor in 2016, 25% of the monitored publications on persons with mental health problems contain texts and wording that lead to strengthening of the stereotypes and stigma among the society against persons with mental health problems.
Persons with mental health problems are “imprisoned” at psychiatric hospitals and care facilities and lose their opportunity of self-realization and their own self. This is caused by both the current stigma and stereotypes, and the lack of necessary psychosocial support services and insufficient legislative regulations.
In May 2016, the first community-based service in Armenia, Spitak Care Home was introduced in Spitak town, Lori marz (region) and it implements exclusive programs for independent living and social integration of persons with mental health problems.
Most of around 50.000 persons with mental health problems registered in the country are deprived of this opportunity; some of them are in closed institutions isolated from the community and others live in the community but are not fully integrated in the community life and do not get adequate care and treatment.
As mentioned in the Preliminary Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Dainius Pūras who was in Armenia lately, Armenia is able and ready to follow best international practices in mental health and abandon the legacy of outdated mental health policies and services reliant on large psychiatric hospitals and long-term care institutions.
“I strongly recommend the Government of Armenia to accelerate mental health reforms and ensure that such community based services go beyond pilot project are scaled up and replicated in all marzes”, is mentioned in the Preliminary Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur.