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No Therapy But Torture in Turkey's Sanatoriums

Last Update 19.11.2017

Having visited sanatoriums in Turkey for two years, RUHISAK reported the violation of rights. The only solution for fixing these places is to change the mentality which does not see the patients as individuals.

Association of Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative (RUHISAK) compiled a report regarding the violation of rights in Turkey’s sanatoriums. 

Implying the hierarchical structure in hospitals, “the most unlucky ones in this hierarchy are the individuals benefiting from these hospitals,” said RUHISAK. “We know they are devoid of freedom. But beyond this, they are kept in places damaging the honor of humanity. In some services of hospitals, all the violation of human rights occurs at the same time.” 

According to the data given by hospital managements, patients are hospitalized unwillingly with a rate of 60%. “This also shows us that how easy and widespread to capture individuals by force is. No worry about security is important than the human honor,” said RUHISAK. 

Hospital conditions and violations

RUHISAK has been carrying out right-based studies and since October 2011, It has been conducting independent, civil observing research in the sanitoriums appertaining to the Ministry of Health, in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Elazığ and Samsun.

Presented by lawyer Nalan Erkem and psychologist Aysun Yavuz Dağıstanlı, the Human Rights in the field of Mental Health 2013 Turkey Report stated:

* Mental Health Institutions operate as “storage hospitals”, meaning the chronic patients being able to live in society and not having to be in hospitals, are kept in there. 

*There is a big difference of standard among hospitals. Whereas the number of doctors, nurses and psychologists, social workers and beds per capita changes, the life and treatment standards in hospitals stays the same. 

Only Medical Treatment

* Only medical treatment is applied in hospitals. There are no rehabilitation, therapy and individual supporting mechanisms. 

* Patients are not informed about other treatment choices and the right to refuse treatment. The workers approach the issue in a way that “The right to refuse treatment would interrupt the cure and should not be told a psychiatry patient.” 

Women from shelters and children from orphanages are in hospitals

* Women from rehabs and shelters, and victims of harassment and rape constitute the most part of patients sent to mental care centers from public institutions. These patients takes only medical treatment without any therapy. 

* Having come from the two state orphanages in Istanbul, the young constitutes 50% of patients at the children and adolescent service of Bakırköy mental facility. 

* 99% of the nurses are not psychiatry nurses, therefore they, themselves also express the quality of service provided is very low. 

They confine everyone they mad at to bed 

*Physical conditions of the buildings are really bad. There are services without doors, half-open. No doors at bathrooms. Patients wait naked, they bath in 4-5 people cabins all together. 

* Patients are treated as if they had no rights to satisfy their humanly needs, they are not treated like equal individuals. Negligence occurs everywhere from treatment to changing sheets. 

* Isolation is a big problem. The workers have the right to tie everyone they mad at to bed and they are not supervised. While strappings exceeding 20 minutes are inhibited, there are patients tied up for 20 hours.

* In addition to the lack of information about the applied treatments, patients are not informed about their basic rights. They do not have an authority to make complaints. Complaint petitions put in the file of the patient are given to the doctor (even if the person they complaint about is the doctor). 

Çiçek Tahaoğlu, bianet

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