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On December 1st 2010, the project "Development of a Child Mental Health Care System in Georgia" will come to an end. The goal of this joint project, by GIP-Vilnius and GIP-Tbilisi, is to improve community mental health services for children and their family members who were affected by war. To reach this goal, mental health professionals have established two mobile teams in Georgia. They provide psychosocial care in the internally displaced people camps and buffer zones of Georgia, mainly focusing on trauma among the children as well as family issues. We hope the project can continue in 2011!
In August 2008, the whole world observed the tragic events in Georgia when a military conflict between Georgia and Russia resulted in the ravage of broken buildings and lives: many people were either killed or forced to leave their homes. Such an extraordinary situation causes not only physical injury, but also very negatively affects the mental well being of everyone who witnessed the events. It is well known that 30-50 percent of trauma victims suffer from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which impede the process of adaptation to the changed conditions. In summary, focusing on psychological recovery is crucially needed. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur among the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.
PTSD symptoms (anxiety, anger, reactive depression, tearfulness, disbelief, panic attacks, fatigue, sleeplessness, migraines, joint and muscle pains, excessive guilt, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, loss of self-esteem and self confidence) are observed among children affected by war as well as their family members. GIP-Vilnius and GIP-Tbilisi developed this project in response to the increased demand for mental health services, with a special emphasis on services for children affected by the war. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania has supported GIP initiatives in Georgia since 2008.
Now mental health professionals are providing the so much needed psychosocial care. Georgian professionals are supervised by experienced Lithuanian experts. It is expected that the project will contribute to the decrease of mental health problems among children affected by war.
By Dovile Juodkaite