Programs of Action and Declaration
The basic characteristics of the area of Eastern Europe and the Balkans are the following:
- The area is characterized by severe socio-economic deprivation, war conflicts and man-made disasters of various kinds. Many of the countries in this area are struggling for survival and such is the case with many of the inhabitants of these countries.
- The impact on the mental health of the population resulting from the above is tremendous. Reports have indicated, among others, increase in depression, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and psychosomatic disorders, notably cancer.
- The impact on mental health professionals is also tremendous. Professionals have been deprived of educational opportunities, treatment facilities, modern drugs and resources for upgrading their professional knowledge and skills. As a result of this, the morale of the professionals has been negatively influenced and their attitudes towards psychiatry, psychiatric practice and psychiatric patients have changed. Survival has gained priority over lege artis practice of Psychiatry.
- There is a huge gap between “West” and “East”. The West is preoccupied with human rights, political correctness, development of new and expensive drugs, the rights of minorities, life skill education, stigma, sophisticated technology, quality of life etc. whilst in the East, due to extreme poverty, various kinds of severe deprivations, chronic stress and diseases forgotten in the West (like for example, vitamin deficiency) people and professionals have other priorities like hunger, survival, ad hoc diagnostics and traditional methods of healing.
- International collaboration, harmonization of psychiatric training and practice, understanding of the social and economic differences between countries and substantial assistance to poor countries are sine qua non conditions for the development of an all-embracing, global and empathic model in contrast to an elitistic, self-satisfied and self-absorbed model.
Preliminary Meeting in Yokohama
A preliminary Meeting of representatives of National Associations in the area was held in Yokohama on the occasion of the XII World Congress of Psychiatry and a Coordinating Committee consisting of Dusica Lecic (Yugoslavia), Peykan Gökalp (Turkey) and George Christodoulou (Greece) was formed.
The participants decided to propose to the EC the establishment of an Institutional Program on Eastern Europe and the Balkans that would lead to the formation of a Psychiatric Association of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, affiliated with the WPA, and try to hold a meeting in Athens to reach decisions on the issues pertaining to the establishment of the Association.
Following approval of the proposal for the establishment of the Institutional Program (October 2002, Lima, Peru) the coordinating committee communicated with the local Associations announcing the establishment of the Program and seeking collaboration and feed-back.
Scope of the Institutional Program
- Identification of problems and determination of priorities
- Support of the organizational, educational, research and clinical potential of the Member Societies
- Promotion of participation of the National Societies of the area in the various sectors of the WPA (sections, meetings, educational activities, publications)
- Collaboration with Zonal representatives and establishment of links with International organizations
- Establishment of frequent communication with the Psychiatric Societies of the area via e-mail that may later develop into a Newsletter
- Development of consensus or position statements related to problems of the area, in collaboration with the participating Associations and Zonal representatives
- Joint scientific presentations and Administrative meetings of the Associations of the area on the occasion of WPA Scientific Meetings (e.g. Regional Meeting in Athens, March 2005)
- Collaboration with the World Health Organization in a variety of programs (e.g. the Program on Reconciliation in the Balkans).
- Monitoring and intervention (if needed) aiming at protection of the rights of the patients and their carers in the countries of the area
- Establishment of a Psychiatric Association composed of the Psychiatric Societies in the area, affiliated with the WPA.
In view of the limited financial potential of the involved National Associations and the present financial difficulties of the WPA it is necessary to secure funds. The basic requirements are:
- Two meetings for about 25 participants per year
- Expenses for the editing of the Newslette
Chair: Prof. George Christodoulou (Greece), Co-chair: Prof. Valery Krasnov (Russia), Secretary: Prof. D. Lecic-Tosevski (Yugoslavia), Advisor: Prof. Norman Sartorius (Switzerland)