Armenia

Summary

Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

Armenian Psychiatric Association

“AYG” Center of Psychological Services 

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Yerevan State University

Armenian University (RAU) 

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

The Seda Ghazarian Memorial Foundation 

Background & Context

As a post-Soviet state, the Republic of Armenia inherited a health system organized according to the Semashko model with guaranteed free medical assistance and access to a comprehensive range of medical care for the entire population. Financial and other allocations were based on national norms and failed to take account of population health needs. Since independence, the mental health system in Armenia has undergone numerous changes (WHO, 2009).

Mental health services in Armenia are lacking and those available are poorly integrated into the primary care system. The current system focuses on in-patient care. There is a lack of trained social workers and other mental health professionals, which limits the potential for service provision at community level. Also, psychosocial rehabilitation is underrepresented in mental hospitals. There are no specific rehabilitation units, crisis centers, or community based day care units for people with mental health disorders in Armenia (WHO, 2009).

Besides that, the research on counselling in Armenia is still lacking as counselling services in Armenia are presently non-existent. The need for effective counselling and mental healthcare delivery systems appears very evident in the country. Outpatient counselling services are extremely scarce with no regulation or state-wide standards. Moreover, none of the institutions in Armenia offer counselling as a degree. In fact, the discipline of counselling is not recognized as a profession. Hence, people have little to no understanding as to what counselling is and what these services can accomplish. In summary, the counselling profession in Armenia is still underdeveloped and positive reforms should be done to improve it becoming a viable profession in Armenia (WHO, 2009).  

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

As counselling is always combined with Psychology, you have to study psychology to become a psychological counsellor. Also this type of counselling is not free in Armenia (cf. “AYG” Centre for Psychological Services 2020).

Practice Settings

Individual Consultation: Individual psychological counselling is professional support for a mentally healthy person who at some point in his or her life has psychological problems, difficulties or simply seeks self-improvement or self-knowledge.

Family Counselling: Family counselling is a unique measure of psychological work that aims to prevent, restore, and develop disrupted interpersonal relationships, as well as to overcome emotional disorders in a family member or one of the members. It aims to create opportunities for personal growth for all family members, to redefine family roles and positions. This type of counselling is used in divorce as well as in parent-child relationships.

Advice for Children and Adolescents: Counselling for children and adolescents is a process equipped with special psychological methods and techniques aimed at preventing and overcoming the various problems that children and adolescents have (cf. “AYG” Centre for Psychological Services 2020). 

Challenges & Trends

The general healthcare system transition difficulties in Armenia are reflected in mental health system development issues. General approaches to mental health are far from being modernized and maintain some strategies and practices from the Soviet period. There is no systematic approach to developing community mental health services in Armenia currently. Only five outpatient mental health facilities are available in Armenia. All of them are organizationally integrated with mental hospitals (WHO, 2009).

Overall, there are still many gaps to be addressed by continuous reforms of the mental health system in Armenia. Mental health in Armenia still is not recognized as a major component of the health and wellbeing of all individuals hence there is a need for both government and non-governmental organizations to work together to promote the importance of mental health services in Armenia.

The legislative enactments are not fully developed that might cause conflicts between mental health specialists and other service providers and patients interests. Policy in mental health is still not developed as well as there is no governmentally approved and adopted mental health program in Armenia. The other issue of concern is that there is no emergency/disaster preparedness plan for mental health (WHO, 2009).

Furthermore, there is a lack of training for mental health professionals and a lack of international exchange around these issues which limits the potential for providing services at community level. Also, because of the high level stigmatization of mental disorders and the limitations of the health statistics surveillance system in Armenia (Van Baelen, Theochartopolus & Hargreaves, 2005) there is an under reported data on the mental health needs of the country.

Additional Information & References

For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal & website articles:

Armenia
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