IAC Member Associations & Organizations
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Universities & Training Institutes
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Additional Education Institutes
Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices & Centres
IAC Member Centres/Group Practices
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Additional Centres/Group Practices
Cabinet de psychologie et d’orthophonie
Cabinet d’orthophonie et de psychologie ELMOHRI
Background & Context
French colonial occupation (from 1830 to 1962) profoundly influenced the development of psychiatry in Algeria, both structurally and ideologically. In 1930 a large-scale plan was launched to create psychiatric settings out of nothing. Psychiatric departments were opened in general hospitals for acute patients (called first-line services) and the building was begun of large psychiatric hospitals for long-stay patients (called second-line services). They were run according to the 1838 French mental health law. A hasty mass departure of French psychiatrists and nurses in 1962 left hospitals devoid of human resources to care for thousands of patients with mental illness and to handle the psychological consequences of a seven-year bloody war for independence (Benmebarek, 2017).
Besides, In 1960s, Algeria had one university (The University of Algiers) which the psychology was an elective complementary subject taught in medicine programs. In 1970s, psychology was taught not as an elective course, but as a totally independent branch with three major specialties: educational, industrial and clinical psychology. In addition, In 1960s, there were no Algerian psychologists who were specialized in psychology and who can practice it. Actually the practice of psychology at a large scale started in the 1970s (Mebarki, 2018). Graduated psychologists practiced psychology in different institutions such as schools, industrial companies, clinics, hospitals and other socio medical centres.
Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition
There is an increasing awareness of the importance of providing up-to-date care for children with mental disorders; a reform plan has been launched by the Department of Health and recently child and adolescent psychiatry has been raised to the status of independent specialty (Benmebarek, 2017).
Furthermore, there is no national training in forensic or addiction psychiatry, or psychotherapy. Continuing medical education is not mandatory, although the Health Department regularly organises seminars on topics such as psychological trauma, addiction and autism. Training in cognitive–behavioural therapy or family therapy is possible through a programme of cooperation with European specialist associations.
Of the 13 university hospitals, six have a department of psychiatry; there are 16 mental health specialist hospitals and 13 psychiatric wards in general hospitals (Zahir, 2012). Child and adolescent psychiatry departments are available in 14 psychiatric hospitals. All provide out-patient consultations and some of them day hospital care; there is no full hospitalisation for children.
Challenges & Trends
There have been significant developments and undeniable improvements in mental health in Algeria in recent decades but more effort is needed to reform the mental health system, which still needs to be more efficient and more cost-effective (Benmebarek, 2017). The main challenges of psychiatry today are:
- enacting a new mental health law
- reviewing the mental health programme
- increasing the number of medical and paramedical staff
- creating social workers
- developing psychiatric departments in general hospitals
- integrating mental health service users and civil organisations in political decision-making.
And last but not least, emphasis should be put on the urgent need to develop community care and to establish rehabilitation programmes.
Additional Information & References
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal articles:
Benmebarek, Z. (2017). Psychiatric services in Algeria. Bjpsych. International, 14(1), 10-12. https://doi.org/10.1192/s2056474000001598
Mebarki, B., 2018. promoting psychology in Algeria: Difficulties of a culturally-embedded discipline. International Journal of Psychology, 47(463).
Zahir, A. (2012) A l’issue du 1er congrès national de santé mentale, Ould Abbes annonce: dix huit projets de création de nouveaux établissements hospitaliers.