Enhancing services for people with disabilities
Transition Assistance and Institution-Building
About 8.5 million persons with disabilities live in Turkey – some 12% of the total population. That number includes people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities (orthopaedic, hearing or visual impairments), and chronic mental illnesses or disorders. Major changes in the provision of disability services were introduced by the 2005 disability law, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities, especially in education and employment. The law also outlined the types of care that could be provided to people with disabilities, ranging from home care to placement in public or private institutions.
The project’s aims and core activities
The project aimed to support the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MoFSP) in their efforts to provide effective, appropriate and efficient community-based support services for persons with mental disabilities, including both chronic mental disorders and intellectual disabilities.
A major component of the project consisted of assessing institutional and individual needs, including patients’ capabilities, activities and wishes, at 35 mental disability institutions: all eight mental health hospitals plus 27 public and private social care institutions. A total of 583 patients were interviewed.
This survey contributed to a revision of the MoH’s national mental health action plan as well as the development of the MoFSP’s action plan for community-based social care services in Ankara.
Service staff in relevant units received training and retraining to prepare for the transfer of residents and staff to new community-based “houses of hope”, which were established under the project as the agreed model of community-based social care for people with mental disabilities. Training will continue to be provided to staff serving the existing 73 community mental health centres.