Saturday, February 18, 2017

Notorious Serbsky Institute Releases Latest ‘Madness Map’ of Russian Regions

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 18 -- Moscow’s Serbsky Institute, notorious in Soviet times for its imposition of the diagnosis of “creeping schizophrenia” on dissidents, has just released its rankings of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation in terms of the number of people per 100,000 seeking psychiatric help.

            The federal subjects ranked “worst” on this measure are the Altay, Chukotka, the Yamalo-Nanets Autonomous District, Perm Kray and Krasnoyarsk Kray. Those ranked “best” are Moscow, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya. St. Petersburg is mid-range (социология/974715/samyie_sumasshiedshiie_rieghiony_rossii).

            Boris Kazakovtsev, a specialist at the Serbsky, points out that “in the southern part of the country and the Caucasus, psychic illnesses are three to four times lower than in the middle portion of Russia and in the north.”  He says that this does not reflect greater unwillingness in the former to turn to psychiatrists but rather better health in general.

            He adds that the overall indicators of the numbers of madness “reached their peak values ten years ago,” when somewhat more than 4.25 million” residents of the Russian Federation were included in the list of those with psychological illnesses. By the end of 2015, that number had fallen to 4.04 million.

            According to Kazakovtsev, the four million represents the number who have turned to psychiatrists for help. “In fact, certain data suggest, including international ones, we have about 14 million psychologically ill people, including both psychic and drug addictions.” People turn to psychiatry only when things are really bad.

            Health experts in Moscow say that a very large share of the psychologically ill in Russia have problems with alcohol and drugs, which are both a cause and a consequence of mental problems.  That is, Russians use these things because of psychological difficulties but as they do so, these substances in and of themselves add to their mental problems.

            The Life portal appends to its report the complete ranking of all regions and republics of the Russian Federation.

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