Armenia steps up mental health community services for populations affected by the armed conflict with WHO and EU support
23 June 2022
The Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) aims at strengthening community-based mental health care to reduce mental health and psychosocial suffering.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in cooperation with the European Commission and Ministry of Health of Armenia (MoH) launched the Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) in Armenia for populations affected by armed conflict.
With the slogan – Mental Health for All! – the mhGAP programme in Armenia aims at strengthening community-based mental health care to reduce mental health and psychosocial suffering and promote the wellbeing of population affected by armed conflict, thus improving their access to mental health and psychosocial support. The mhGAP programme will be implemented in Yerevan and four Marzes- Kotayk, Ararat, Gegharkunik, and Syunik, ensuring that 20% of the primary health care facilities in these regions are enabled to provide quality and evidence-based community mental health and psychosocial support.
On 16 June, the main aims and objectives of the mhGAP programme were presented during the meeting with head of the EU delegation to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin, representatives of European Commission’s Directorate-General for EU Neighborhood and Enlargement, local government, and civil society.
Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin emphasized the importance of the mental health and the role of the joint mhGAP programme in addressing this issue.
“Putting mental health as one of the priorities in healthcare agenda will improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities” said the Ambassador.
"Ministry of Health highly appreciates this important partnership with WHO and EU. The mhGAP program has a great potential to improve access to quality mental health services in the communities and to address the mental health conditions and psychosocial suffering of the population affected by the armed conflict" said Kristine Galstyan, mhGAP programme focal point at the MoH.
The launch was followed by a stakeholder meeting in Kapan city, Syunik, with the presence of MoH and WHO representatives, and Syunik Regional Administration and Managers of the health care facilities. The participants discussed mental health service gaps in the Marze and opportunities of providing quality and timely Mental Health interventions for people in need at the primary health care and community levels.
WHO representative to Armenia, Dr. Jihane Tawilah, said, “To bring about real change, we need to work towards building more resilient systems in Armenia. We hope that the mhGAP programme will facilitate continuous capacity building of primary healthcare workers and create both momentum and experience for a national policy that scale up the integration of mental health care within primary health services in Armenia” ․