On June 19, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree aimed at fundamentally improving the public mental health service in the country.

The document outlines several measures aimed at improving the public mental health service, including:

  • introduction of a unified vertical management system for the provision of specialized psychiatric and substance abuse treatment;
  • integration of the mental health-care service into primary health-care institutions
  • full provision of medicines to persons suffering from mental disorders in accordance with the need;
  • strengthening of mental health of the population, especially children and adolescents;
  • improvement of the system of staff training, decent incentives and creation of additional conditions for effective work of specialists;
  • strengthening of the material and technical base of psychiatric institutions.

As of July 1, the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Centre for Narcology will be transformed into the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Centre for Mental Health, which will coordinate and supervise mental health care at all levels. Psychiatric and narcological hospitals and dispensaries in the regions will become part of the centre.

New staffing levels will be introduced as of August 1, including:

  • medical psychologist — in district and city multidisciplinary central polyclinics (at the expense of a reduction in the staff of the Healthy Lifestyle and Physical Activity Support Centre);
  • a suicidologist in neuropsychiatric dispensaries which have no inpatient beds, and in psychiatric hospitals with dispensaries;
  • emergency room physician, psychiatrist on duty, medical psychologist or psychotherapist, within the framework of the existing staffing, in facilities for psycho-neurological dispensaries with inpatient beds, and in psychiatric hospitals.

By the end of 2023, the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) in Primary Health Care is to be implemented. This includes measures for:

  • early detection and treatment of mental disorders in primary care;
  • skills and knowledge development of doctors and other primary health-care workers in the clinical assessment, treatment and monitoring of persons with mental disorders.

Special Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will be introduced in general secondary education institutions as part of the existing disciplines of the school curriculum and extracurricular processes to build students' self-control skills and coping with difficult life situations and prevent depression, anxiety and suicide.

In 2023−2024, at least 40 specialists will be sent to reputable foreign medical institutions for advanced training and internships.

Additionally, as of July 1, allowances for psychiatrists working in district and urban multi-disciplinary central polyclinics, as well as psychiatrists, medical psychologists, psychotherapists, and suicidologists working in psychiatric institutions will be increased from 25% to 50% of their salary.

This move follows a proposal by the World Health Organization to introduce mental health care at the level of family doctors in Central Asian countries to make psychiatric care more accessible and reduce stigmatization.