Promises Of State Assistance For Mentally Ill Soldier Unfulfilled. I


Significant changes can be seen in Hovhannes Vardanyan, the soldier
who became mentally ill after serving over a year of his two-year
military service in Askeran, Nagorno-Karabakh, after he was discharged
from the psychiatric hospital, Hovhannes’ father, Vardan Vardanyan,
told, adding that the important thing is his son is at home,
under his direct supervision.

“Hovhannes is asleep for most of the day because he takes a large
dose of psychotropic drugs four times a day. I buy the drugs at the
pharmacy, at my own expense, with the doctor’s prescription. By the
way, they are very expensive drugs. As for procuring drugs free of
charge, I have to say that until the state gives him disability status
we cannot get free medication,” he said.

In addition to getting treated by the local doctor, Hovhannes is also
receiving treatment from a private psychiatrist. “The doctor says
that everything takes time and he cannot give a 100% guarantee. He
promised to bring Hovhannes to the point where he can go out on his
own, hang out with his friends – in short, to not be a laughing stock.

Vardan Vardanyan noted regretfully that after the incident, there
were many promises of assistance to his son, which, however, did
not materialize.

“So far I have not received any assistance whatsoever from the defense
ministry or the state. Instead, I have received help from individuals
and various charities, even from the US. They sent very expensive
drugs, which I definitely wouldn’t have been able to purchase on my
own. I have written down the names of each and everyone of those
who helped, so that when Hovhannes is a little bit better, he can
personally call and thank them,” he stressed.

Hovhannes’ father also noted how it’s been over a month since he spoke
with the investigator on the case by phone, but he sees no progress.

“I called the investigator twice, but he’s not answering my calls. I
will try to call him again; if he doesn’t respond, I’ll appeal to
all the proper bodies. If they are trying to buy time and cover up
the preliminary investigation, then let me say, they are mistaken…

Many have called for abandoning the idea of punishing the guilty,
saying that it’s all the same, my son’s situation won’t get better
from this.

But I will fight so that all those who are connected to this case are
punished. Otherwise, in these terms of connivance, any child may be
subject to similar violence,” he said.

As for continuing Hovhannes’ treatment abroad, Vardan Vardanyan hopes
that he will find a charitable person who will help them as their is
only enough money for tending to the medication and everyday concerns. also spoke with Anaida Gevorgyan, director of the Nork
psychiatric clinic at the Psychiatric Medical Center, who assessed
Hovhannes’ situation as satisfactory.

“Hovhannes is going to continue his treatment at home, under the
direct supervision of the local doctor. Considering the fact that he
underwent treatment for 24 days in the mental hospital, we listened
to his father’s insistences and allowed him to take his son home,”
she said.

Asked how dangerous Hovhannes is to society, Gevorgyan said that
“every healthy person poses a potential threat, and the ill likewise.”

“Sometimes healthy people are more inclined to crime than those
suffering from various mental illnesses, since great attention is paid
to the ill by both family members and the surrounding environment,
while the healthy are not supervised and can make a variety of
mistakes,” she concluded.

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