Athens ESF report/ Part 5

Investigating Psychiatry in Greece. (May, 7-9,  2006)

We have spent our free time on investigating psychiatry and culture in Athens Greece. We went to a Universty Clinic and a Psychiatric ward on a General Hospital, and we talked with 2 psychiatrists. They explored a lot to us, and we owe them great thanks.
We found out that there are NO CLIENT NETWORKS nor any USER GROUPS of Psychiatry in Greece.
Only Family-groups and Psychiatrist-groups do exist in Greece..
Explanations may lay in the poverty of the country. With an unemployment rate of 10% , people don't speak about their psychic problems, otherwise they won't get a job in the future. There is not such thing as Social Benefit System. No job, means No Money.
Greece, as a country, is nearly bankrupt, because a lot of Industry is moving away to other cheaper countries (Like Bulgaria). Greece is placed under financial supervision by the European union.
Therefore, in Greece people solve their psychic problems in private surroundings. Within the community there is a high taboo on psychiatric problems.
This problem goes for a lot of poor countries, across all the world.

We only spoke briefly about compulsory methods. We were told by a psychiatrist that the Isolation Cells in Greece have soft walls (with cushions). He said it was only used when someone was dangerous to its surroundings, and not by being a danger to himself. It seemed like the psychiatrist was truly more involved with the patients. We got the impression that the cells were not used very much, and not really excessively. We want to know why.

In the Netherlands quite some students quit the psychiatric profession, mainly because of the incompetence of the Dutch way of Mental Health Care. They get disappointed by the impersonal approach of institutions and the madness of strict rules and systems, where they are not able to use their hearts.
In Greece we were told that Greece people do not quit their profession. Most students have been on a waiting list for 3-5 years to get to start their study, and due to the high unemployment rate, they are very happy to get any job within their profession. So they cannot oppose the Mental Health Care System very easily, because they also need to think of themselves as well.  Psychiatric professionals in Greece actually do not have much of a choice, even if they are willing to do improve the Mental Health Care..
As long as there is not sufficient money, this will be a burden for everyone involved.



< back to International Message Board  of >