The Trust Line in Sukhum

By Aida Ladaria


The reforms of the 1990s have set Abkhazia on a new path of development, bringing additional social stresses. The Georgian-Abkhaz war (1992-1993) interfered with the natural development of new conditions, setting the country back decades. The war, having destroyed the area’s infrastructure and wiped out socio-economic advances, has taken a high toll on human resources.

Complicated problems have faced post-war Abkhazia: It has been necessary to restore everything destroyed and instigate new legal and economic development, in other words, to develop a democratic society. This path has created many problems, and people who have survived the war have special difficulties assimilating them. The blockade of Abkhazia, started by Russia in December 1994, has worsened Abkhazia’s already difficult economic position. Unstable regional politics, a sharp fall in the standard of living, difficult social conditions, unemployment, inferior social welfare and medical services, legal chaos, and the day to day instability of events have seriously affected individuals. Psychological exhaustion has serious consequences. For instance, the worsening emotional-moral climate in the family directly affects children and, in turn, the entire society. Unfortunately, for various reasons, no social or psycho-therapeutic services (governmental or private) have yet been created in Abkhazia.

The creation in Sukhum of a telephone service for anonymous psychological counseling is aimed at supporting people in difficult situations, at alleviating psychological discomfort and stress, and easing social adaptation. "The Trust Line" has been functioning in Sukhum since February 1996. Over 1,200 calls were received during only the first three months of service, and of them, 230 callers received anonymous and free consultations. Callers ask for help with a variety of problems and our counselors respond with understanding and support. The project is funded by the Van Camp Foundation in the United States.

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