ADVOCACY


Since very beginning we were paying a lot attention on human rights and legal issues in the field of mental health. Activists of organization - mostly users and ex-users of the services and family members - were trained as advocates by foreign trainees. Armenian Mental Health Foundation participated in differetn regional training events and training.

Advocacy training project
In 1998-1999 US based Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) organization held advocacy training for representatives of different non-governmental organizations. Leading trainer was Elisabeth Bauer, Director of Michigan State Advocacy Service, USA. Users from Vanadzor, as well our advocates from Yerevan were interested in learning more about advocacy on behalf of the community integration of children and adults with disabilities. Participants could potentially become trainers themselves and were people willing to make such a commitment of their time and energies. The training program provided people with exposure to many of the kinds of programs, including models for integrated education, employment, health care and housing, community-based health and welfare support services. In total six activists of our organization participated in that training program.

Study Tour to USA of representatives of advocacy organizations
In 1998 Armenian Mental Health Foundation jointly with Mental Disability Rights International organized study tour of representatives of different Armenian NGOs to United States. This project was sponsored by Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation. During a tour two groups of representatives of four Armenian NGO-s get acquainted with mental health services in East Coast of United States,particularly in Washington, D.C., Upstate New York and Western Massachusetts. In Washington, D.C. our representatives visited one of the oldest psychiatric hospital of the country - St Elizabeth’s hospital, famous Green Door Supported Employment Center and Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington. They have had a possibility to visit rural area mental health services in Berkshire County. Transition Day Center staff welcomed the delegation with National Flag and National Anthem of Armenia. On September 11,1998 president of Armenian Mental Health Foundation Dr.Arman Vardanyan made a panel presentation at Fordham University in New York City, NY. Everywhere, Americans warmly welcomed their Armenian colleagues. This was the first such kind of study tour to United States.


Caucasus Regional Advocacy Training
In November 2000 Armenian Mental Health Foundation was invited to participate in Caucasian Reginal Training event organized by Hamlet Trust. Event was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian Mental Health Association, Caspian Mental Health Association along with us gained a lot of practical experinece of that event. One of the important outcomes of that event was further strenghtening of links between British and Caucasian partners.

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