Empowering dialogues: the problems of service users, family members and carers’ associations in Greece
The voice of people with mental health problems has historically been weak to express the demands for better care and end of abuse. In the effort to reform and improve mental health services in Greece, the lack of a social movement is often referred to as a central problem by experts. It is important to describe and study the problems that prevent mental health service users and their relatives from achieving their goals, contributing to the change that is clearly required and strengthening their word. A mixed methods study provides us insight to the basic problems of associations representing users and carers in Greece. These are: Available efficient space for meetings, service provision, administrative purposes, technical capacity, difficulty in clarifying and prioritizing purposes and goals, difficulty in engaging active members, and ambivalence towards the state and mental health professionals. We are interested at the qualitative characteristics of engagement and relationships between associations and other stakeholders. Proposals are made to further study and actions to strengthen the ability of clubs to achieve their goals and to promote reforms for better mental health care. A need to reconsider the attitudes and behaviors associations should foster towards a healthy democracy is emerging.
Key words: User Representation, engagement, ethnographic research method, organizational culture, institutional - group dynamics.