We are all Friends of Trieste: Your help needed to save mental health system [Update as of 6.22.21]

Several weeks ago, I received alarming news from our friends in Italy.  As a result of changes  in their regional government, there is a risk that new leadership will be appointed that will not uphold  the carefully built and protected mental health system that has inspired the world.  Having experienced the whiplash of change that can happen when political priorities change, we know this must be taken seriously.

Call to Action

So:  a call to action.  I am partnering with Dr. Allen Frances on an effort to mobilize our American audience (and others in the English-speaking world) to impress upon the Italian government that we are watching this with great interest.  Dr. Frances has been outspoken about the contrast between the American system of mental health care and the transformative system that has evolved over the past 45 years in Trieste. 

In this highly informative article he wrote for Psychology Today,  World’s Best and Worst Places to Be Mentally Ill | Psychology Today he almost speaks with a prophetic voice as to what is at stake in Trieste at this moment: “To give the Trieste system a fair chance to succeed in the U.S., we would first need funding, training, time, dedication and compassion. And it wouldn’t work everywhere—even in Italy some regions are enthusiastic about social psychiatry, and others are much more conservative.”

Please add your name to this petition

We have created a petition here and ask that you sign and circulate widely through your professional and social media channels.  As of today, we are at >1,000 signatures. Please keep sharing through social media. These names are being added to thousands others that are being collected throughout the world.

Update as of 6.22.21 – Compendium of Articles and Editorials

June 21, 2021

The British Medical Journal published an article yesterday drawing attention to the situation in Trieste. The article references our Change.org petition and calls out prominent mental health experts who have raised their voices in alarm. The article quotes Benedetto Saraceno, the former mental health director for the World Health Organization as saying that the regional government, in which Trieste is located, intends to give a prominent leadership role to a candidate who is “completely alienated to consolidated…progressive care, and who, instead, came from backward services, from psychiatric wards that are often closed and that still use physical restraint.”

Article from L’ Espresso June 21, 2021 which, translated says: Cuts in resources, new methods and two singular competitions. In Fruili (the region), the attack on [Law] 180. Subtitle: The region, excellence of national health, is turning its back on the ideas of Basaglia. Here’s how Massimiliano Fedriga’s government is getting its hand on the layout of its mental health centers.

June 15, 2021

Italian: https://www.editorialedomani.it/idee/voci/basaglia-e-il-fantasma-di-trieste-ma-non-la-sua-realta-kk5essg0

English: Basaglia is the ghost of Trieste, but not its reality (editorialedomani.it)

June 11, 2021

Italian: https://ilmanifesto.it/trieste-il-concorso-che-tradisce-basaglia/

English: Trieste, the contest that betrays Basaglia | the manifesto (ilmanifesto.it)

May I express my appreciation to my friend in the UK, Vincenzo Passante, who is helping me with translation, along with Google translate to make sense of what is happening.

Translated: Thousands of voices in defense of Trieste model. Il Piccolo 6.8.21

Here are a few additional links of relevance.

A link to a call to action issued by the International Mental Health Collaborating Network

International Call to Support the Trieste Mental Health Department

Link to Change.org petition initiated in Argentina (this can be translated into English)


Please keep checking back. Thank you for being a Friend of Trieste.

1 thought on “We are all Friends of Trieste: Your help needed to save mental health system [Update as of 6.22.21]”

  1. The Trieste experience shows clearly how people with mental problems can be cared in the community

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