From institutionalization to community services
This seminar: Fostering Change in Romania From institutionalization to community services for people with mental health problems brought together representatives of public authorities from Romania with professionals actives in mental health from NGO-s and institutions, users and ex-users of mental health services and specialists from Mental Health Europe.
Although in Romania, the process of deinstitutionalization is still at the beginning, there is a tradition and experience in community services for people with severe mental health problems.
The most important actor in this area is the Estuar Foundation which celebrates this year 20 years of activity. With this occasion a series of events were organized in Bucharest and in Cluj-Napoca as it follows: Flash Mob for mental health on 10th of October; Seminar with international participation on “Fostering change in Romania - From institutionalization to community services for people with mental health problems” on 21st of October; Mental Health Gala on 22 October; the European Conference – From stigma to inclusion drivers of progress in the mental health field on 23-24 October.
The seminar “Fostering change in Romania - From institutionalization to community services for people with mental health problems” brought together representatives of public authorities from Romania with professionals actives in mental health from NGO-s and institutions, users and ex-users of mental health services and specialists from Mental Health Europe.
The seminar started with a presentation about the current situation of the deinstitutionalization process in Romania moderated by the director of the National Mental Health Center – Dr. Ileana Botezat Antonescu. The main aspects were about the current economical problems in Romania which slowed the process of de-institutionalization but also about the progress made until now. The representative of Mental Health Europe – Gabor Petri stressed that in many European countries are similar issues and presented some of the findings from the report “Mapping exclusion – institutional and community based services in the mental health field in Europe”. According to the findings in Romania there are 39 psychiatric hospitals with a total number of service users of 8107; 102 care and assistance centers with 1138 users; 21 integration centers by occupational therapy with 376 users; 56 recovery and rehabilitation centers with 2473 users and 52 neuropsychiatric recovery and rehabilitation centers with 5457 users.
The European Expert Group representatives – Jan Pfeiffer had a presentation about “Good practice, obstacles and pitfalls in the implementation of deinstitutionalization”. The participants appreciated as very useful the presentation which further opened the discussion about a strategy plan for accelerating the process of deinstitutionalization in Romania. The main idea was that a coalition of all important actors in mental health is the force that can pressure the authorities to move forward in this change. One point that was debated regarded the re-allocation of the actual budget (not asking for more money in the context of poor economic situation) and highlighting the benefits of community services versus institutional based care. Both Gabor Petri and Jan Pfeiffer expressed their availability and support for this initiative.
CARe Europe Country Representative for Romania