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ENTER Conference 2023 - Keynote Speaker Announced: Dr Roberto Mezzina

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

ENTER is pleased to announce that Dr Roberto MEZZINA, one of the founders, and currently Chair, of the International Mental Health Collaborating Network established in 2001 will be a keynote speaker at the ENTER Mental Health Conference 2023. Dr Mezzina is a psychiatrist amd Vice President (for Program Development) of the World Federation for Mental Health.

Dr Mezzina contributed, as clinician and manager, from 1978 on to the experience of Trieste, which inspired the Italian Mental Health Reform Law of 1978, closing the psychiatric hospital and creating a network of totally alternative community based network of services. This is recently reconfirmed as a model for the World Health Organization (2021). He was Director of a CMH Centre (1995) and Department between 2012 and 2019, as well as from 2009 Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training. He has supported the development of community-based services worldwide (e.g. crisis, recovery, peer support, forensic services etc) as well as consulted on reform policies worldwide (Slovenia, UK, Denmark, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Poland, Serbia, France, Palestine among others).

Abstract: De-institutionalization today: person-centered focus and system change toward community mental health.

Long term institutions are for many years, even officially (WHO, 2009), considered as relics of the past, but they still absorb the majority of economic resources of mental healthcare and are hardly resisting to change. Most reforms in Europe are now trying to develop community services, which are integrated within welfare systems and social networks, but they are loosely coupled with a radical institutional transformation. De-institutionalization is mentioned in many international charters and documents, as the WHO Report and the UN CRPD committee. While there is a substantial agreement on the basic definition as far as it is referred to patients (e.g., the release from the institution where the process of institutionalization located and confined them), nonetheless the process that this entails is poorly focused and widely misunderstood. It regards not just the downsizing, and final closure of total institutions as asylums, or the discharge of their patients, but a whole system change and moreover a full transformation of psychiatry towards community mental health. This can require a variety of approaches and models, but de-institutionalization must be seen as the main strategy to overturn old forms of oppression of people with mental health conditions and disabilities and to mobilize resources and supports for their recovery and social integration. Community-based services can promote the response to needs and the fulfillment of citizenship rights by catalyzing resources and opportunities. The Italian experience, and especially the one in Trieste, for 40 years asylum-free, is a demonstration that this is possible, by acting in a way that fosters subjectivity, empowerment, recovery and social inclusion, while embracing a human rights approach (e.g. principles of open door, no restraint, hospitality, negotiation). To complete de-institutionalization of mental healthcare, we thus need the convergence of human rights, person-centered and recovery approaches with comprehensive, strong, accountable and responsive community-centric services.

We look forward to welcoming you and Robert to our conference in Karst, Slovenia on 1st June 2023. Registration for the conference is now open, click here to register.

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