Quarterly scientific journal

The Hellenic Psychiatric reform

Charalampos Depastas


The Hellenic psychiatric reform has constituted the trigger for the de-institutionalization and outpatient treatment of the mentally ill. Until the end of the 20th century, conditions in the inadequate national network of mental health services had been inappropriate. In 1981, the year that Greece joined the European Union, the member-states encouraged Greece to make fundamental changes by modernising the sector of mental health. The purpose would be to create a national reform programme for establishing community psychiatry, closing the country's psychiatric hospitals and deinstitutionalizing long-term mental patients. This project was designed and financed by the European Union and the Greek Ministry of Health. This review focuses on the content and implementation of the Hellenic psychiatric reform and of the national programme “Psychargos”. Through the years, the existing structures providing mental health services have been modernised and many new ones have emerged. The Ministry of Health, however, making an account of the planning for years 1984-2009 notes that focus was primarily given to releasing mental patients from psychiatric hospitals rather than developing community structures. Despite the problems that psychiatry reformation has to face, and in spite of the considerable work accomplished, the service network remains in adequate.

Keywords: Mental health, psychiatry, psychiatric reform, hellenic psychiatric reform, national program «Psyhargos»

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