The Greek mental health system has been undergoing radical reforms for over the past twenty years. In congruence with trends and practices in other European countries, Greek mental health reforms were designed to develop a community-based mental health service system. The implementation of an extensive transformation became possible through the “Psychargos” program, a national strategic and operational plan, which was developed by the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity. The Psychargos program was jointly funded by the European Union by 75% of the cost over a period of 5 years and the Greek State. After the period of 5 years, the entire cost of the new services became the responsibility of the Greek National Budget. Over the years the Psychargos program became almost synonymous with the deinstitutionalisation of long term psychiatric patients with the development of a wide range of community mental health services. The Psychargos program ended in December 2009. This article presents the views of service providers and service users as part an ex-post evaluation of the Psychargos program carried out in 2010. Data derived for this part of the evaluation are from the application of the qualitative method of focus groups. The outcomes of the study identified several positive and noteworthy achievements by the reforms of the Greek mental health system as well as weaknesses. There was considerable similarity of the views expressed by both focus groups. In addition the service users’ focus group emphasized more issues related to improving their mental health wellbeing and living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life.

Key words: Psychiatric reform, service users, focus groups

E. Loukidou, A. Mastroyiannakis, T. Power, T. Craig, G. Thornicroft, N. Bouras (page 37) - Full article