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The dire economic situation in Georgia has left the population of the country without any protection that would be provided by Government. Socially unprotected groups of society were among the ones most affected, their survival left to the mercy of foreign donors and the kindness of random people.
We live by the side of people who suffer from mental illnesses. Due to the lack of understanding of such illnesses, large parts of society have developed a sense of alienation towards the people who suffer from those illnesses. The social stigma remorselessly relieves mental patients of all their constitutional rights. Abandoned by the friends and family, the “lucky” ones among them spend all their time at the deteriorating post-Soviet mental institutions; the rest may often not even have a roof over their heads.
There’s no official statistic regarding the number of people suffering from mental illness in Georgia. According to unofficial studies conducted by different research groups, there are about 400 thousand people suffering from different kinds and degrees of psychiatric disorder, about 10% of those in need of immediate medical care.
In Soviet Georgia (population: 5 million), the official number of people in psychiatric institutions was around 74 thousand. A study, conducted in year 2000, recorded 98 thousand of them. Current statistics shows that around 13 thousand people seek medical care in psychiatric institutions every month. Despite this statistic, latest polls in Georgia show that a visit to the psychiatrist is still perceived as a negative and derogatory act: 90% of the respondents would never recommend their friend or relative to visit a psychiatrist. Due to the lack of awareness among the parents, 99% percent of children with a mental illness never receive any medical care.
People with psychiatric disorders are a part of our society. Society should accept and accommodate them.
My goal and hope is to raise awareness about mental disorders in society. I hope to show that mental patients are regular human beings, who deserve to be treated with respect and care; that the society should not make them feel inferior, just because they suffer from an illness….
My name is Besik Darchia. I was born on 24th of September 1982, in Georgia, Tbilisi. I’m postgrad dentist, but have never been working by profession. By chance, three years ago photography became the main interest in my life: I accidentally found one of the photo sites and focused on portraits and photos on social life. I was inspired, that was stimulus to follow through and reflect the life surrounding me through photography.
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Many thanks… david alan harvey