Public Defender's Statement on World Mental Health Day
10 October was first observed as World Mental Health Day in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is "Dignity in mental health".
The Public Defender of Georgia considers that rights of all individuals should be realized with dignity and without discrimination regardless of their condition of health. It is important the state to ensure that people with mental health conditions can live with dignity, through human rights oriented policy, law and programs.
Mental health care still remains a serious challenge in Georgia. According to official data, 3 020 people were diagnosed with mental disorders in 2013, but independent experts allege that the information is incomplete and the real number of such cases is at least two times higher.
The supervision carried out by the Public Defender in the area of protection of the rights of people with mental health conditions has revealed problems such as: low public awareness and stigma; need for high-quality treatment and continuous care, geographical and financial access to services, needs-based approach, deinstitutionalization and community-based care, social rehabilitation; low involvement of people with mental health conditions and their families, lack of human resources, irrelevant infrastructure of special facilities.
In 2013 the Parliament of Georgia approved State Concept on Mental Health Care, in compliance of which, at the end of 2014, the Government adopted Mental Health Development Strategy and Action Plan for 2015-2020. The national plan reflects the country's vision, values and principles for mental health development, but it is impossible to ensure the objectives and main values of the plan - such as respect for human rights and dignity, equality and availability, tolerance and social inclusion - without their effective implementation in practice.
The Public Defender of Georgia calls on relevant authorities to take timely and effective steps for practical implementation of the action plan in order to ensure protection of mental health and enable people with mental disabilities to live with dignity.