Greece struggling to care for psychiatric patients


Reforms have improved the quality of psychiatric care in Greece but the closure of several specialist clinics due to the austerity demanded by the country’s creditors has shifted a large part of the burden onto state hospitals, a European report has found.

The report, compiled by Mental Health Europe, a Brussels-based network of mental health professionals and service providers, with the help of the University of Kent, noted that five of Greece’s nine psychiatric hospitals have closed in recent years. Psychiatric clinics deal with 60 percent of patients with acute mental health problems. The rest of the burden is chiefly shouldered by “acute assessment units” at state hospitals.

Involuntary hospitalizations are high in Greece, according to the report, which said they were four times higher than the European Union average. There were 3,233 involuntary hospitalizations in Attica in 2013, according to the report, which did not provide more recent data.