The scope of the interventions of an interdisciplinary mental health service in the treatment of psychotic disorders in rural Greece
Keywords: Community mental health, mobile mental health units, psychosocial interventions, rural areas, schizophrenia spectrum disorders
AbstractIn contemporary clinical practice and service policy, mental health care is patient-oriented and is being delivered in the less restrictive environment that is the community. However, rural and remote areas may still not receive adequate mental health care. The Mobile Mental Health Units (MMHUs) in rural Greece have been launched to address the service shortages in those areas, and they prioritize patients with psychotic and other severe mental disorders. Through the description of a patient with schizophrenia this paper aims to illustrate the broad scope of the interventions that are applied by the interdisciplinary MMHUs. Team working involves antipsychotic drug prescription and monitoring; co-operation with social services and local civil authorities; allocation of other available resources; patients’ referral to the primary care setting for the monitoring of their physical health; and close co-operation with local psychiatric wards, in cases of patients’ hospitalization. Due to this multidimensional approach a substantial number of patients with disability and poor functioning may live independently and adjust in local environments. Current challenges for the MMHUs are the care of refugees and immigrants, and the response to the population needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this model of care needs to be further evaluated.