Public Defender’s Statement in connection with World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is marked on October 10 every year, which serves to raise public awareness of mental health and mobilize efforts to support those who have mental health problems.
This year's theme is “Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Global Priority”.
In 2019, about one in eight people worldwide had mental health problems. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a global crisis in this field. It exacerbated short-term and long-term stress and threatened the mental health of millions of people. Stigma and discrimination remains obstacles in the process of social integration and proper care. At the same time, mental health services and funding are still insufficient, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Development of services based on social integration and rehabilitation of persons with mental health problems, inclusion of persons enjoying inpatient services in the universal healthcare programme and provision of necessary human resources in the field of psychiatry remain challenges in Georgia. It is a problem that patients placed in psychiatric institutions formally sign the consent form, without receiving complete and objective information in an understandable form. It is also a challenge to raise public awareness of mental health and reduce stigma.
Despite the fact that the Mental Health Strategy of Georgia for 2022-2030 was approved by the governmental resolution this year, the document does not fully cover issues such as awareness raising and suicide prevention. Important directions of mental health development - deinstitutionalization, creation of community-based services - are declarative in nature, and no clear ways are described in the strategy for their implementation.
In order to solve mental health problems in the country in a timely manner, the Public Defender calls on the authorities to take effective steps to ensure transition to modern, community-based mental health care services, their continuity and smooth delivery to those in need; to properly inform patients of psychiatric institutions about their rights; to take measures to support their independent living, to increase public awareness and to reduce stigma in order to make mental health and well-being for all a global priority.
 Resolution No. 23 of the Government of Georgia of January 18, 2022 "On Approving the Mental Health Strategy of Georgia for 2022-2030." The document is available on the website <https://bit.ly/3rR67tq>