During previous financial crises as well as the recent global financial crisis, a strong impact of the crisis on the population mental health in many countries has been observed. Similarly, in Greece, a series of epidemiological studies pointed out the consequences of the economic crisis on the population mental health. However, there is limited data available, both in Greece and worldwide, regarding the impact of the economic crisis from the perspective of mental health services. The goal of the present study was to examine possible changes on the community mental health during the first years of the Greek financial crisis, as they are reflected on the operation of a community mental health unit with a specific catchment area within Athens (Byron and Kessariani). The demographic, social and clinical characteristics of adult users who were admitted for the first time at ByronKessariani Mental Health Community Center during the years 2008–2013 were analysed. The impact of the financial crisis on the workload of the center was also assessed during the same period. The sample of the study consisted of 1865 adult users and the data was collected with the use of an ad hoc structured questionnaire as well as from the users’ case files. No significant differentiation on the number of clients admitted to the center per year after the beginning of the financial crisis was found. However, it is possible that an upper limit has been reached on the center’s capacity to admit new clients, i.e. a ceiling effect, as it is shown from the increased number of provided sessions per year as well as from the increase in the mean waiting time for the intake of new patients during the same period. A constant increase in the number of women among the new clients of ByronKessariani Mental Health Community Center was found, but no significant differentiations were detected during the study period. Moreover, the study showed an upward trend in aggressive behavior as a reason for admission, a significant and continuous increase in the rate of unemployed individuals among the new clients, as well as a statistically significant increase in the number of referrals for psychotherapy during the study period. There was also an increase in the number of patients who had psychiatric history, even though they were admitted to Byron-Kessariani Mental Health Community Center for the first time. No significant differentiations were found in the remaining users’ demographic and clinical characteristics assessed. Our study showed that during the crisis community mental health services are under pressure due to the increased needs of patients, especially the needs for psychotherapeutic intervention and psychological support. The increased unemployment rates affect the influx of new patients as well as the therapeutic management of many users. Reinforcement of the community mental health service network is an important strategy against the consequences of the crisis on the population mental health.

Key words: Financial crisis, community mental health, patient demands, unemployment, aggressive behavior.

 Κ. Pikouli, G. Konstantakopoulos, P. Kalampaka Spilioti, E. Fytrolaki, D. Ploumpidis, M. Economou (page 97) 


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