Trailblazing study on families of missing people
The first-ever study, not just in Sri Lanka but in the world, on the psychological impact on families of missing persons has been conducted by two local psychiatrists. Family members of missing individuals unsure whether their loved ones are alive or dead are at a higher risk of psychological illness, the evidence-based landmark study carried out in the south has found.
Mothers and wives were particularly vulnerable, the study has unearthed, with the ‘psychological morbidity’ of the family members of the ‘disappeared’ or ‘missing’ including Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD).
The study has been conducted by Prof. Shehan Williams, Professor in Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and Dr. Amila Isuru, earlier of the University Psychiatry Unit of the North Colombo Teaching Hospital, Ragama, now serving as the Acting Consultant Psychiatrist of the Mannar Hospital.Professor Shehan Wiliams is also Board member of FGIP.
The research has been published in the top-notch ‘Psychological Medicine’ journal of the Cambridge University Press, possibly another first for Sri Lanka, the Sunday Times learns. Grounding their study in the districts of Matara, Galle and Hambantota, they have focused on families who are living with the burden of having a missing person from the 1988-89 youth insurrection, the December 2004 tsunami and the 30-year ethnic conflict.
The whole artcile can be downloaded here
political abuse of psychiatry in Russia increases
On September 21, 2018, an international conference was organized at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, organized by the Andrei Sakharov Research Center on Deocratic Development, the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FGIP and Vytautas magnus University. The conference discussed the resumption of political abuse of psychiatry for political purposes. This practice was very common in the Soviet Union, when approximately one out of three political prisoners were incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals and tortured with neuroleptics. Many of them were kept for years in Special psychiatric Hospitals and one of them, Victor Davidoff, was speaking at the conference. Only few psychiatrists dared to resist, and all of them paid a heavy price. One of the most famous of them, the Ukrainian psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, was also at the conference. He spent seven years in camp and three years in exile.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated we thought the political abuse of psychiatry came to an end and we hoped it would never come back. Unfortunately, our hopes were in vain. In several of the former Soviet republics opponents of the regime have again become victim of psychiatric abuse. The most worrying is the situation in the Russian Federation, where dozens of people have become victim, in particular in occupied Crimea. One of the speakers was the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, who was victim of this recent wave of abuse.
Last year we published a report covering the years 2012-2017, in which several dozen of cases were described. Today we will also present an update on the period 2017-2018, which shows that the frequency is increasing and the practice is becoming more and more widespread.
The English text of the update can be downloaded here
The Russian text of the update can be downloaded here
Transformation of social care homes in Ukraine
New report on Ukrainian social care homes
On Friday September 28, 2018 the international foundation “Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP” presented a report on the social care home in Slovyansk and the Svyatoshinsky social care home in Kyiv based on an assessment visit carried out in may 2018, within the framework of the project “Combatting Torture and Ill-Treatment in Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia, financed by the European Union.
The same day, a large meeting was held at the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on the issue of guardianship. More than 130 persons, including officials, professionals and relatives, discussed ways how to end the law on guardianship that makes tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens legally incapacitated and voiceless. During the same days, several training events were organized, among them a public lecture by Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, Chairman of the board of FGIP.
The English version of the report can be downloaded here
The Ukrainian version of the report van be downloaded here