The WPA and FGIP advise the Ukraine
On June 29, 2020, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) issued a Mental Health Policy Brief with recommendations on how to solve the current crisis in psychiatry in Ukraine and take steps to reform mental health care services soundly and structurally. The policy brief was developed at the request of the two Ukrainian psychiatric associations that are members of the WPA.A copy of the brief was also forwarded to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. The policy brief was developed by an international team of experts chaired by the President of the Georgian Psychiatric Association, Professor Eka Chkonia, and comprising half a dozen top experts in the field of modern mental health care services who are also well-informed aboiut the Ukrainian context.
The crisis in Ukrainian psychiatry was the result of the second stage of the health reform that was implemented on April 1, 2020, and 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 pandemic which hit Ukraine at almost the same time. As a result of the crisis, many mental health professionals were losing their jobs,hospital departments were closed and many chronic patients were discharged, often without any place to go.
The WPA Expert Committee recommended the Ukrainian government implement the existing draft National Mental Health Action Plan after having been fine-tuned by 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 multi-disciplinary approach in community-based mental health-services to support the de-institutionalization 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.