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• Italy

From the asylum to territorial services for mental health
International interest

In 2010, the Mental Health Department of the Azienda per i Servizi Sanitari of Trieste, was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health. The designation is effective for a period of four years.

Since 1987, Trieste has been at the avant-garde in deinstitutionalization and community mental health services in Italy and Europe and has become a point of reference for the deinstitutionalization process and development of community services. The Mental Health Department of Trieste was first designated WHO Collaborating Centre in 1987 and for over 30 years it has been developing activities and providing support to numerous countries in all continents.

In 2005, the Mental Health Department of Trieste was designated Lead Collaborating Centre for Service Development in the framework of WHO-Euro Helsinki Declaration and Action Plan. It offered internship visits to a large number of European and international professionals from 28 countries.

Internships, services and seminars were offered to 47 groups, including 35 foreigners, making a total of 700 persons, during 2009. They included doctors, psychologists, social workers and medical assistants, managers, administrators, politicians, students and interns, users, family and volunteers associations, social cooperatives from the following countries: Italy, Greece, Great Britain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Germany, Serbia, Ireland, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Korea, Turkey, Palestine, Jordan, Iran, Malaysia.

The work-plan approved by WHO for the next four years includes cooperation for the development of local mental health services mainly in countries that have undertaken or are planning to undertake, not without difficulties, psychiatric reform processes. In particular, it will support the South American network of good practices as well as ongoing reform processes, particularly in Argentina and Brazil.

The WHO Collaborating Centre of Trieste can offer interested actors:
• Support and guidance in various countries in deinstitutionalization and development of integrated/comprehensive community mental health services: drafting of policies at the local and national level; leadership and management; implementation and development of local services networks; workforce development (multidisciplinary teams)
• Collaboration, partnership and networking with countries/areas which demonstrate the willingness and capacity to deliver community based services
• Dissemination of Whole Systems & Recovery approaches: innovative practices in community MH (e.g. alternatives for acute care; comprehensive CMH Centres; rehabilitation, recovery & social inclusion services; deinstitutionalization & whole systems change; early intervention integrated networks; social enterprises & cooperatives technology, operation & policies)

The Training Centre in Trieste is equipped with a library and comprehensive archives open to the public, created with innovative software for interactive consultation (more than 16,000 files have already been archived). Oltre il giardino (1908-2009): historical archive, including an internet version; teleconference and videoconference equipment available; University Psychiatric Clinic with training facilities, rooms, library and free accommodation at any time for up to 1 year for about 15 trainee professionals and internees (mainly from Italy - mandatory training for psychologists; Argentina and Brazil with specific projects; other countries on demand)

The international meeting "Trieste 2010: What is 'mental health'?" (February 2010) was attended by over 1500 people from around the world and ended with the proposal to establish a Permanent Conference, under the auspices of the World Health Organization. A group of promoters therefore created an NGO called Permanent Conference for Mental Health Worldwide: Franco Basaglia. Through the International Committee, the Conference’s goal is to involve actors and experiences in various countries of the world and represent their specific realities.