Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

“Effective State Protection of the Rights of Persons with Mental Health Problems in the Pandemic-Related Emergency Situations”։ policy brief

December 7, 2022

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EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme
for the Eastern Partnership

Standing Together

Project title: COVID-19 Solidarity Programme 2020-2022 (Covid-19 հետևանքների չեզոքացման ծրագիր 2020-2022 թթ․)


Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office hereby presents policy brief “Effective State Protection of the Rights of Persons with Mental Health Problems in the Pandemic-Related Emergency Situations” prepared in the frame of the project “Contribute to the adoption of procedures for systemic response to pandemics in psychiatric institutions in Armenia”.


In crisis situations such as the pandemic, it is more difficult to assure the rights of representatives of vulnerable groups. Confined in institutions, persons with mental health problems got more isolated in the conditions of the pandemic-related rules, not even having an opportunity to communicate with their relatives.


How could this situation have been prevented or mitigated; what potential solutions are there applied in the world, what can countries do in case of facing a similar problem in the future? 


To find answers to these questions, we initiated development of this document, for which we first made visits to psychiatric institutions of the Republic of Armenia to understand how they practically operated during the pandemic, after which we visited Georgia and Moldova to explore their local practices, and then we combined all this with legislative regulations and international standards. The document also addresses problems conditioned by peculiarities of mental health systems, and the solutions used in this context.

Ultimately, the document presents recommendations aimed at ensuring the rights of persons with mental health problems in pandemic-related emergency situations.

On 22 November 2022, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office held the discussion-workshop of the document. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the document with interested parties and finalize it based on the observations presented. The specialists who attended the meeting presented their observations and their experience of responding to the pandemic in psychiatric institutions. Based on the observations presented, the document was finalized and you can read it by following this link.


The project grant was provided by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee as a result of the call for proposals in the frame of “COVID-19 in penitentiary institutions and psychiatric institutions” for civil society organizations of EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme 2020-2022 for Eastern Partnership Countries.


The aim of the programme is to support civil society organizations to respond to immediate and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. The programme is a part of the activities implemented by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (in cooperation with Global Initiative on Psychiatry), jointly with People in Need and AFEW International.



This publication was prepared with the support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. 





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