ARS to Establish Mental Health Clinic in Karabakh

The Armenian Relief Society of North America–Western Region–has planned to establish a mental health clinic in Stepanakert to meet the growing mental health needs of the population. For nearly a decade–as a result of war and other dire circumstances–the population of 120,000 has suffered enormous psychological stress and trauma.

Twenty-two thousand children in all of Karabakh and 12,000 who live in Stepanakert need psychological attention. Children are the most vulnerable individuals suffering from war related trauma with conditions ranging from fear and depression to behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

In 1995 psychologist Dr. Madeline Tashjian and psychiatrists Dr. Haikaz Gregorian and Dr. Louis Najarian traveled to Stepanakert to initiate the process.

A group of 15 individuals–who expressed interest in training to become counselors–were identified and during the summer of 1995 Dr. Gregorian and a staff of counselors from Gyumri participated in a lecture series for the group in Stepanakert.

From that group of individuals three people were chosen to attend clinical training in Gyumri.

In the springs of 1996 and 1997–those three individuals lived at the ARS Psychological Treatment Center where they received intensive clinical training. Upon completion of their training–they took written examinations.

In April 1998–they received certificates from the Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry of Education in Stepanakert allowing them to provide counseling to individuals with psychological needs.

The ARS hopes to open the Center in the fall of 1998 to offer these vital services to the entire population.

Individuals wishing to assist this endeavor may make a tax free contribution to the Armenian Relief Society–517 W. Glen Oaks Boulevard–Glendale–California 91202–(818) 500-1343.

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