The Ukrainian Psychiatric Association is a non-governmental organization focused on issues of psychiatry and professional training, social and legal support to people with mental health problems and their families, promotion and implementation of modern approaches in professional training and education in the sphere of psychiatry, development of research programs in this field.
The Ukrainian Psychiatric Association (UPA) was organized in 1991, and registered with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on March 28, 1991, re-registered on March 4, 1993 (certificate No. 54).
UPA was one of the first NGOs in the area of former USSR in the period of Gorbachev. The group of democracy-oriented psychiatrists with the support of democracy-oriented politicians founded it. UPA has been established in order to promote legal and other advocacy for the human and civil rights of people with mental health disability. The goal of UPA is to improve the quality of life for these individuals by advocating public policies that promote community integration, self-determination and support of individuals with mental disabilities and their families.
During the recent years, UPA became a doubtless leader among similar organizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is an informal informational centre for psychiatrists, and nurses, psychologists, lawyers and politicians, who are working in the field of mental health and public health reforms.
UPA grounds its work on its co-operation with the regional branches. The Association works according to the principles of electing its ruling bodies the principles of openness, periodic accountability, collective management, and personal responsibility for the entrusted affair. The ruling bodies of UPA are the Meeting, the Coordinating Council, the Board and the Auditing Committee. During the period of its operation, the APU essentially extended its agencies all over Ukraine: at the present moment, there are 29 branches at the Association, which include more than 800 members.
UPA's extensive activity is aimed at breaking informational deprivation Ukrainian medical profession has been suffering from.
The objectives of UPA are as follows:
- to establish and to develop professional, informational and other ties between statutory, public and other agencies and organizations (including foreign and international ones);
- to promote the development of modern approaches in professional training;
- to develop research programs, aimed at studying mental health and mental disorders and to promote introducing modern progressive methods of diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation of patients;
- to work out the programs and plans (jointly with statutory organizations or independently) aimed at development of specialized services for population, to participate in creating legislative documents;
- to support organizations and individuals engaged in the sphere of psychiatric and psychological services and to provide professional and ethical evaluation of these activities.
- to help psychiatric patients and former victims of totalitarian psychiatry
- to support priority of the humanist and humanitarian values of the native psychiatric science and practice.
- to reach its aims and objectives UPA performs lots of activities, to be exact, there are developed a numerous amount of projects, there is edited, published and distributed free-of-charge vast literature on psychiatry, there is functioning a library, the seminars and conferences are carried out on a regular basis.
The main sectors of daily activity:
- Monitoring Political Abuse of Psychiatry & Advocacy Activities (The specialized Expert Committee of UPA, created in 1990, provides social and legal support to Ukrainians having human rights claims to governmental structures. People seeking protection of their rights apply to the Committee. The Committee's team, consisting of psychiatrists, forensic psychiatrist, lawyer, a social worker and a forensic psychologist, notes a growing number of cases of psychiatric abuse and violation of existing laws in Ukraine. It provides the assistance on the daily basis to all those who appealed the commission. Daily people appeal the commission with the request to protect their rights. The experts who are working for the commission, indicate the growth of the number of cases of human rights violations and psychiatry abuse in the country. The experts working in the Committee are advocating the interests of people with mental disorders in the courts and providing juridical and social assistance to them. As well as in the previous years they registered the increase of the number of cases of human rights and psychiatry abuses. This fact confirms that the adequate governmental assistance is absent in the country. In 2000 the number of such appeals reached 833 registered cases. In 2001 there were 1035 appeals; in 2002 - 1203. Within last years UPA actually plays a role of social service, independent expert groups and carries out regular monitoring of human rights abuse in the field of psychiatry. )
- Analytical activity (conducting sociological researches ("Monitoring of patients' rights observance in the sphere of psychiatry", "Public opinion concerning mental health and illness), economical studies ("Providing basic economic rationale for developing actions on reorganization of the psychiatric assistance infrastructure"), epidemiological studies ("School and Neuropsychological Performance of Evacuated Children in Kyiv - 11 Years after the Chernobyl Disaster", "Alcoholism and Mental Illness in Ukraine"). These and other similar researches and studies UPA conducted are aimed at providing basis for reforming the system of rendering psychiatric aid in Ukraine.
- Publications (For many years the UPA is filling the informational gap by translating, printing and spreading up-to-date Western literature on psychiatry. Besides the books, the following journals are being published: "VESTNIK of UPA", "Modern Psychiatry Review", "UPA Bulletin". They are circulated for free to all psychiatrists of Ukraine and all post Soviet countries, mental health users, their relatives and all regional Ukrainian libraries. From 1993 UPA continues to provide services for the library and the reading room. Besides, the UPA supported and contributed in starting and issuing the other journals, i.e.: "Social-Psychological and Medical Aspects of Violence", "Social Policy and Social Work", "Archives of GPU, NKVD and KGB". )
- Historical activity (studying the history of psychiatry - before the revolution period and the soviet period: professionals are analyzing the documents remained after the USSR collapse in the archives of KGB, collecting the information from the citizens of Ukraine, who were on compulsory treatment in psychiatric hospitals of the USSR because of their religious and political activity.v
- Professional Development (organizing regular conferences for professionals, users, and relatives; training seminars)
- Cooperation with mass media, public and governmental officials (round-table discussions, press conferences, etc. that are aimed at preventing abuse of human rights of psychiatric patients and their families.) As the result of work with the journalists, the earlier forbidden issue of psychiatry has become open and appeared in lots of newspapers and journals, TV and radio programs. The staff of the UPA regularly participates in TV and radio programmes. Their names are met on newspaper pages. In this way they lobby the public opinion of the country.
To get to know more about the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association