With Council of Europe support and direct involvement of the NGO Armenian Scientific Association of Psychologists, the Abovyan penitentiary institution piloted a therapeutic programme from September to December 2022. The goal of the programme is to improve mental health care in the penitentiary system in Armenia.
It is to be noted that Abovyan penitentiary is the only out of 10 in Armenia where women and juvenile inmates are located, and they have already benefited benefit from the programme.
The new therapeutic programme offers now a range of psychological counselling and therapeutic options (including group therapy, individual psychotherapy, rehabilitative and occupational therapy) that involve patients in clinically appropriate rehabilitative psycho-social activities and prepare them for a more independent life and/or return to their families. Occupational therapy is an important part of the treatment programme, providing motivation, development of learning and relationship skills, acquisition of specific competences and improvement of a self-image. While the programme was piloted only in Abovyan prison, the staff of other prisons also benefited from the training sessions.
In addition to the development of this new programme, a supportive, therapeutic and caring therapeutic environment was created by renovating and improving the conditions of the room where the therapeutic treatment is provided through the creation of a space that is safe and welcoming which encourages positive relationships between the beneficiaries and staff.
The therapeutic programme was developed, and the room was renovated and furnished through the Grant provided to the Armenian Scientific Association of Psychologists NGO by the Council of Europe Project “Enhancing health care and human rights protection in prisons in Armenia” implemented by the Council of Europe and financed by the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2019-2022.