Psychological Well-being as a Human Right: the Issues of Individual Responsibility and Social Environment in Kyrgyzstan 
Nina Bagdasarova (American University of Central Asia)
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Room 111
Saturday 12 October, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Long Abstract

The panel is a presentation of research results conducted by a team of American University of Central Asia faculty in 2018-2019. This project investigated theoretical and politico-economic motivations of difference in understandings and approaches to psychological wellbeing by a number of vulnerable groups on one hand, and policy and professional actors on the other. Three vulnerable groups and approaches to their psychological wellbeing were investigated: LGBT community, elderly people and people with mental disorders. The research was conducted in the context of critical tradition in psychology that shifts the focus in understanding psychological distress from individuals to their social environments. According to the reports of the UN Health Agency (WHO), depression is currently the leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects more than 300 million people globally, most of whom are women, young people and the elderly. This statistics indicates clear correlation between social vulnerability and psychological well-being including mental health issues. In the recently published groundbreaking study British epidemiologists Wilkinson and Picket make even more radical claim suggesting that social inequality plays a causal, not correlational, role in problems with social gradient including the global epidemic of psychological distress (Wilkinson, Picket 2018). According to data collected by research team during the previous project cycle (2018), certain vulnerable groups (in our case LGBT) see social environment as the key factor affecting their psychological wellbeing. However, professional psychologists tend to consider psychological wellbeing as the matter of individual responsibility and effort. That difference in understandings of psychological wellbeing that we identified in the case of LGBT people and professional psychologists was confirmed for cases of mental health patients and elderly. It was shown that this difference in approaches affects social services provided to the vulnerable populations and add layers to oppression influencing well-being of the studied vulnerable groups. Methodology included desk research and qualitative data collection. Four panelists will present their parts of the research. Elena Kosterina: "Understanding of psychological well-being of older women by care providers and relatives". Mohira Suyarkulova: "Access to sex education and psychological wellbeing among vulnerable social groups in Kyrgyzstan". Georgy Mamedov: "Social space and psychological wellbeing of LGBT in Kyrgyzstan". Nina Bagdasarova: "Understanding of psychological wellbeing of people with mental disorders among service providers in Kyrgyzstan"

Accepted papers: