Government of Georgia adopts National Action Plan on Mental Health for 2015-2020
On December 31, 2014 Government of Georgia has adopted Strategic Document on Mental Health Development and Action Plan for 2015-2020. One year ago the Parliament of Georgia approved the National Concept of Mental Health Care. National Plan reflects vision on mental health development in the country for coming five-year period, defines values and principles, which represent a basis for arrangement of mental health care.
Elaboration of the Plan involved local leading specialists of the field, non-governmental organizations, Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA), relevant committees of the Parliament. Well-known European MH experts were invited as consultant: Benedetto Saraceno (Italy), Graham Thornicroft (UK), Jose Kaldas de Almeida (Portugal). The Ministry has followed the recommendations of the latter when selecting priorities for the Action Plan. The processes were led by the foundation ‘Global Initiative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi’. UNDP supported the project financially.
Obviously, certain financial resources and efforts are necessary for the implementation of the project. Meanwhile, there are numerous problems იn Georgian mental health sphere. One of the major problems of mental health in Georgia is severe deficiency of community services, absence of community residential facilities and employment support system. The Strategy emphasize on the necessity of transition from the medical model towards the bio-psycho-social model.
Certainly, state management system needs to be improved and financing has to be increased, mainly in the direction of community mental health services development. Currently, share of state funding in implementation of community-based services is 4.5% and share of in-patient services is 70%. According to the Plan, proportion of funding of in-patient and community-based services out of the total funding of mental health programs should become 50% / 50% by the year 2020.
Scarcity of human resources is a major problem, as well. Poor financing of the sphere results in the lack of interest of young specialists towards this sphere and therefore, in the lack of renewal of human resources. Moreover, qualification of existing specialists is not appropriate, either. The users in existing psychiatric hospitals still face the human rights violation.
One significant step has already been made towards the implementation of the Strategy: by the official invitation of MoLHSA, international experts team will visit Georgia in 2016 to provide recommendations to the government in the direction of planning and implementation of deinstitutionalization process.
Reported by Nino Agdgomelashvili (Country Representative Georgia)