what changes did the Ministry of Health introduce for mental hospitals

what changes did the Ministry of Health introduce for mental hospitals



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In inpatient psychiatric hospitals, patients will be allowed to use the Internet and communicate freely with visitors, and they will also stop locking ward doors and hanging bars on windows.

Such changes were adopted in order to get rid of Soviet-style “punitive psychiatry” methods, the Ministry of Health reports.

“Fear and stigma regarding treatment in psychiatric hospitals often prevent people from deciding to at least consult a family doctor with questions about their mental health. The reason is the memory of punitive psychiatry methods that operated in the Soviet Union and are becoming even more brutal in modern Russia.

But in Ukraine, there is a different path – the European one, with an orientation towards the recognition and observance of human rights.”the message says.

The new procedure for providing psychiatric care in hospital conditions provides, in particular:

  • a ban on providing psychiatric care to persons under the age of 18 in departments for adults;
  • mandatory examination and recording of all bodily injuries in case of hospitalization of the patient;
  • prohibition to lock entrance doors to premises and wards, as well as install bars on windows;
  • guarantees of free communication between patients and visitors without the presence of staff;
  • the right to conduct telephone conversations and use the Internet;
  • unlimited confidential communication with the authorized representative of the Verkhovna Rada on human rights, a lawyer, a legal representative, representatives of international organizations;
  • compliance of hospital premises with construction and medical and sanitary requirements;
  • constant and free access of patients to drinking water, hygiene products, sanitary equipment.

However, as before, for the sake of safety, a psychiatrist can limit patients in some actions. In particular, this applies to receiving visitors alone, buying and using some household items, and being alone.

Why is the new order necessary?

According to the Ministry of Health, up to 50% of all children and adolescents with mental disorders in Ukraine still receive suboptimal treatment or none at all, despite the availability of effective methods.

At the same time, children with complex mental disorders have a particularly high risk of inadequate treatment.

Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Psychiatric Care” were adopted back in 2017. At the same time, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Concept of Mental Health Care Development in Ukraine until 2030.

And in December 2023, the Ministry of Health approved the Procedure for providing psychiatric care in inpatient settings. This is the first such comprehensive document since 2000, the Ministry of Health says.

The procedure should promote “accessibility and improvement of mental health care services.” It is also designed to protect patients in psychiatric institutions, to prevent physical, psychological or exploitative violence against them.

The approved order changes approaches to the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals. He about the rights and dignity of a person, about effective and modern, not about corrections methodswhich we inherited from the Soviet psychiatry system.

A psychiatric hospital is not a prison or a penal colony, but a medical institution where patients receive the help and treatment they need“, – said Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko.

It will be recalled that earlier the Ministry of Health announced that the positions of clinical psychologists and psychotherapists will appear in hospitals.

Also, the NSHU explained how to get psychiatric help at home with the help of psychiatric mobile teams.


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