Public Defender’s Statement on Rustavi City Hall’s Refusal to Fund Mental Health Community Service

The Public Defender of Georgia is echoing Rustavi City Hall's refusal to co-finance the Mobile Psychiatric Healthcare Service and states that the municipality should necessarily review its decision since termination of the service will cause the risk of deterioration of patients’ health.

The Public Defender of Georgia is actively involved in the process of solving problems in the field of psychiatry and promotes further development of the sphere through the full involvement of parties concerned.

The recent working meetings made it clear that the efforts of the state are not sufficient and effective for proper implementation of the goals of the Mental Health Action Plan. In addition, the involvement of local self-government in the development of mental health services is extremely low.

A clear example of this is the Rustavi City Hall's refusal to finance the Mobile Psychiatric Healthcare Service.

Rustavi Mental Health Center LLC had been implementing the project Mobile Psychiatric Health Care with the financial support from Open Society Georgia Foundation since February 2016. 60 patients were provides with services at home by the mobile groups. The number of hospitalization and re-hospitalization decreased by 60% as a result of the mobile group services; the traditional outpatient department introduced a multidisciplinary working approach; acute psychopathological symptoms decreased among patients; social functioning of patients increased and therefore, their families were more satisfied.

After the completion of the project in June 2017, the issue of extension of the service was put on the agenda, which did not require mobilization of significant financial resource in case of existence of a relevant will. However, Rustavi City Hall refused to fund the program despite the appeals of Rustavi Mental Health Center LLC, the Public Defender of Georgia and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.

The Public Defender once again emphasizes that the state policy in the field of mental health should be focused on the development of community-based services that will facilitate the care for people with mental health problems, increase quality of their life, reduce the number of their hospitalization and promote protection of their rights. The role and participation of local self-governments are particularly important in this process.

Therefore, it is important the municipalities to reasonably administer resources and address more efforts to the development of similar services and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

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