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World Psychiatric Association advises Ukrainian Ministry on Mental Health Policy

The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has issued a Mental Health Policy Brief with recommendations on how to solve the current crisis in psychiatry in Ukraine while also taking steps to reform mental health care services soundly and structurally.

The policy brief was developed at the request of WPA's two Ukrainian member societies (The Association of Psychiatrists of Ukraine (UPA), and the Association of Neurologists, Psychiatrists and Narcologists of Ukraine) and a copy forwarded to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health.

Developed by an international team of experts chaired by the President of the Georgian Psychiatric Association, Professor Eka Chkonia, the policy brief draws on the knowledge and experience of some of the top experts in the field of modern mental health care services who are also well-informed about the Ukrainian context.

The crisis in Ukrainian psychiatry is the result of the second stage of health reform implemented on April 1, 2020, which led to a reduction of funds for in-patient treatment. On top of this came the problems of coping with mental health care in the face of the COVID-19

pandemic which hit Ukraine at almost the same time. As a result of the crisis, many mental health professionals lost their jobs, hospital departments were closed and many chronic patients were discharged, often without any other place to go.

In its paper, the WPA Expert Committee recommended the Ukrainian government implement the existing draft National Mental Health Action Plan after first fine-tuning it through an inter-Ministerial working group that would include representatives of other relevant Ministries e.g. the Ministries of Social Policy and Education, as well as professional mental health related associations and consumer representatives. The Expert Committee also stressed the necessity of a twin-track financing approach that would provide adequate resources for in-patient care (possibly with an increase of funding during the actual shift to community care) while developing community-based mental health care services. It also pointed out the importance of a regular consultation process between the Ministry and the professional psychiatric associations. It further recommended to set up train-the-trainer programs for a multi-disciplinary approach in community-based mental health-services to support the deinstitutionalization process and called upon Ukraine to meet its international obligations, e.g. with regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities-CRPD.

A News Release and the Policy Document have been issued in Ukrainian, Russian and English. See them HERE.

For more information: Prof. Robert van Voren,, +31-651534123



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