Georgia’s post-Soviet experience of conflict, economic decline has resulted in serious under-funding
for mental health care services for the mentally disabled, and those with mental disorders. Services
for the mentally ill, especially the young, are extremely limited. There’s a shortage of specialist units
and psychiatrists and virtually no aftercare support for families such as social care or occupational
therapy. Social exclusion, stigma and discrimination leave these vulnerable groups with no alternatives to institutionalization, and limited or no access to education and employment.
Mental health in Georgia is a subject shrouded in taboo. Through a combination of photojournalism and
reportage, journalist Robin Forestier-Walker and I want to shine a light on the experiences of individuals
who may be mentally disabled or suffering from a mental illness.
We want to understand how family and society treats those with mental health issues and find out what can
be done to give them hope and the prospect of a better life in the future.
Ultimately this work will conclude with a photo-journalistic publication that ideally would contribute towards
changing hearts, minds and public policy.