A new role of people suffering from mental illnesses in treatment and recovery
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Psychiatr Pol 2012;46(6):995-1005
In many countries there is a growing awareness of the significance of mutual help among patients suffering from mental illnesses. Such acts provide benefits in terms of a sense of greater activity, self-dependance, it empowers and restores the feeling of influence over one's own and the other's fate. It is a path facilitating the process of recovery. In the last twenty years, the new role of patients in the humanisation of the treatment process in psychiatry was most fully expressed by the creation of independent non-governmental organisations. Those organisations took mutual aid activities, participation in self-education, in the therapeutic process and recently, in scientific research as their main goals. In Poland, an independent movement of patients has been growing since 2003, firstly as an organisation of people suffering from mental illnesses, named as the Open the doors Association in Krakow. The authors, in a joint voice, describe the history, various activities and the significance of this movement, expressing a conviction that the time has come in Poland to formulate a long-term programme of promoting activities which support the process of empowerment and recovery in psychiatric and social institutions. They share the opinion, that the time for radical changes in Polish psychiatry has come with the implementation of the National Program of Mental Health Care. The time for patients to take over more responsibility and for us all to cooperate.
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