It is a strange and scary thought: Stas is no more. The same table, the same ashtray, the same books in English... but he is not there. And will never be. He has not moved to another city or abroad. He died. Unexpectedly for all of us.
Only forty-two years old. But so much achieved. Great doctor, great researcher, a kind and sympathetic person. Many people grieved over his death. And not only here, in Ukraine. He was known and loved in Holland, America and Great Britain. He, the only one in Ukraine, left dozens of publications in the best journals of the world.
An ordinary, modest doctor. He was a real erudite. Sociologists accepted him in their professional club. Psychologists, the best of them, sought his advice. Patients trusted him, even those who have been unsuccessfully treated before by his officially distinguished colleagues.
He felt lonely in our professional environment in Ukraine. Because he was so much more knowledgeable. I hoped that he would be the first scientist-psychiatrist recognized in Ukraine. He became it though.... But he always remained the same modest and quiet doctor Stanislav Kostyuchenko.
He didn't want to write and defend a thesis. After successful completion of the Ukrainian-American study, of which he was a real academic advisor from the Ukrainian side, I asked him: "Stas, why don't you make a thesis on this unique research? This is really unique, there is nothing like that in any of the post-Soviet republics!" He sadly answered: "I'll never be able to defend a thesis on this material. Our professors will kill me. And I don't want to write something that will be acceptable for them. I just can't. Thanks to you, Semyon, I already know so much more..."
I thought that he was very lonely. But suddenly, after his death we found out how many people sincerely appreciated and loved him. Since 1999 he went to Roman Catholic Alexander Church. There, in that church, the burial service was read over him. It was a bright day, it was a joy to live. But from now on, unfortunately without Stas...
He was buried in Chernigov, where he was born. Well, we will visit him from time to time. Our Stas. Our dearest Stas.
Semyon Gluzman, September 2015
35 years of FGIP: 35 years of commitment to mental health
Anniversary project: support the work of Nest (Sri Lanka)
In December 2015 it is 35 years ago that the Foundation Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP was founded in Paris. Originally called “The International Association against the Political Use of Psychiatry”, it was intended to be a temporary confederation of national organizations involved in the fight against the political abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. The organization successfully lobbied national and international medical associations, human rights groups and governmental agencies and by the end of the decade the political abuse of psychiatry had indeed come to an end. However, with the USSR opening up to the outside world, a new challenge appeared on the horizon: the struggle for a humane, ethical and consumer-oriented mental health care system. The subsequent 25 years the organization, now called GIP (Geneva – and later Global – Initiative on Psychiatry) worked tirelessly to improve the lives of persons with mental illness in Central & Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and later also in Africa, Sri Lanka, Indochina and the Caribbean. Hundreds of projects were implemented, ranging van small grassroots initiatives to large-scale reform projects, and the organization received international acclaim for its efficacy and commitment.
Now that the organization exists 35 years, our work is far from over. Through its central office of the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP), its member organizations in Bulgaria, Georgia and Lithuania, and its many partners all over the world the organization continues its struggle for a humane and ethical mental health care system worldwide.
One of our partner organizations in based in Sri Lanka. Set up more than 25 years ago by Sally Hullugalle, the organization has developed a wide range of activities for persons with mental health problems who need support and care. Tirelessly, the volunteers of Nest work in both hospitals and the community, and through their work they have helped hundreds of people restore their lives and become active members of society again. Nest embodies all the values that FGIP stands for: commitment and dedication, determination, putting the consumers central and helping them to become or remain part of the community and have full-bodied lives.
One of the projects focuses at the Mulleriyawa mental hospital for women, where originally more than seven hundred women were locked up for the rest of their lives and lived under horrific conditions. Thanks to Nest, more than half of the women have been reintegrated into society and the remainder is living under far better circumstances both on the hospital grounds and in houses nearby. In order to continue their work, Nest needs financial support to meet the basic needs of the women, as well as to purchase a trishaw to transport women to the market for shopping or for outings into the community. Having a trishaw would greatly enhance the efficacy of Nest and give the women of Mulleriyawa a much greater sense of mobility and independence. The total cost for a trishaw is 4,000 euro, while the annual budget for Nest operations at Mulleriyawa is approximately 6,000 euro.
Instead of presents: support to Nest
When people have a birthday, they often receive presents. And so in the case of GIP's 35th anniversary, people have asked us whether we have special wishes. GIP was founded to help people in difficult circumstances. Then our target groups were people who were incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals for non-medical reasons because of their political or religious beliefs, now they are persons with mental illness who do not get adequate treatment or are stigmatised within their society. We feel it is not GIP that deserves a present, but rather our target population. For that reason we would like to ask your financial contribution to this special anniversary project.
Help us to continue our work in the coming years – and help Nest to continue their invaluable work.
ING Bank, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
BIC code: INGBNL2A
Bank account number: NL46 INGB 0006 0707 13
att.: Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP, Postbus 1956, 1200 BZ Hilversum (NL)
Donations from the US that are made by check should be made out to “GIP-USA” and send to our address in The Netherlands, as they will be cashed in the United States by one of our members to avoid excessive bank costs.
First winners of the new Jim Birley Scholarships
It is with great pleasure that the Netherlands-based international foundation “Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP” announces the first winners of the new Jim Birley Scholarships. The Scholarship is shared in 2015 between two outstanding advocates for human rights in mental health. The winners of the 2015 Jim Birley Scholarships are Anka Jgenti from Georgia and Charlene Sunkel from South Africa