IMPACT Mental Health Forum : Improving access to mental health care

Forum IMPACT on mental health

Last week, 46 mental health experts representing 26 countries attended the 6th IMPACT Mental Health Forum in Yerevan, Armenia. Entitled “Improving access to mental health care: why, what, when and how to assess?” this forum is organized by Sanofi and the World Association of Social Psychiatry.

This forum is also the opportunity to present an update on the partnership launched in February 2014 by Sanofi, the Ministry of Healthcare of Armenia and the World Association of Social Psychiatry to develop access to care for people with schizophrenia in the Yerevan region. This 2-year pilot program aims to develop community mental health care through the empowerment of primary healthcare professionals. It is based on creating a network of general practitioners (GPs) and nurses around each psychiatrist, on training these GPs and nurses to identify and manage patients with psychosis, on developing tools to educate patients and their families, and on raising awareness among the general population in order to fight the stigma and exclusion which people with mental disorders have to face.

A survey on stigma conducted in Yerevan among family members of people with mental illness, presented during the forum, highlights the significant impact that mental disorders have on patients’ relatives. Among the people surveyed, 79% indicated that “the quality of life of their family had changed because of the mental illness of their family member”.

Picture of the Comic book developed by Sanofi in Armenia to fight stigmaSpecific training materials for primary healthcare professionals, as well as information and education tools for families and the general population, have been developed with the input of local experts. One hundred and thirty six healthcare professionalshave already attended training sessions and an educational TV program on mental health has reached over 50,000 people in the Yerevan area.
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