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Evaluation of Greek psychiatric reforms: methodological issues

Evangelia Loukidou1, Anastasios Mastroyannakis1, Tracey Power2, Graham Thornicroft4, Tom Craig3 and Nick Bouras2*

Author Affiliations

1 C.M.T. Prooptiki, Athens, Greece

2 Maudsley International, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK

3 King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, England, UK

4 Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, England, UK

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International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2013, 7:11  doi:10.1186/1752-4458-7-11

Published: 28 March 2013

Abstract

Over the last three decades significant efforts have been made in many European countries to move away from a mental health system dominated by institutional care towards one whereby the main emphasis is on providing care and support within the community. Although the time of starting the reforms, their pace, the political context, and the exact objectives varies substantially across Europe, practically all countries have been undergoing such major reforms aimed at establishing services in the community to replace institutional based care. Each country makes its own decisions about the necessary mental health services taking into account a range of factors including population needs, level of resources, flexibility and coordination of organizational structures, as well as local culture. These factors become an integral element of a national mental health policy and action plan, closely linked with national public health strategies.

Greece has been modernizing an outdated mental health system, which was based on institutional care, over the last 20 years, by developing community-based mental health care. This article describes the methodology used for the evaluation of the Psychargos programme of the mental health reforms in Greece. Various forms of community-based mental health services have been developed including supported living facilities, community mental health centres and employment opportunities.

Keywords:
Evaluation; Mental health reforms; Community mental health services; Greece