John Libbey Eurotext

L'Information Psychiatrique


How an innovative citizen psychiatry experience became a WHO reference center for mental health in the community Volume 92, issue 9, Novembre 2016

Centre collaborateur de l’OMS, EPSM Lille-Métropole, ECEVE UMR 1123-Inserm, Université Paris 7, 211 rue Roger Salegro 59260 Hellemmes-Lille, France
* Correspondance
  • Key words: social psychiatry, mental health, community health, empowerment, citizenship, peer help, research, training, nosology, local mental health board, World Health Organization, EPSM Lille-Métropole
  • DOI : 10.1684/ipe.2016.1543
  • Page(s) : 711-7
  • Published in: 2016

In the early 70s, a general psychiatric sector of Armentières psychiatric hospital (today called the Public Mental Health Facility i.e. EPSM-Lille-Métropole) began to radically change tsi care paradigm. In three decades, the sector has switched form the asylum to the community from psychiatric hospitalization as the only response to care in the community, to the integration of personal services via mobile teams and home patient care. This was possible due to the systematic involvement of local officials, and the theoretical foundation and practice of citizenship for all. This experience was conceptualized under the name of citizen psychiatry. In 2001, the experience was recognized as a pilot in the evolution of psychiatric care by the World Health Organization (WHO), which permitted EPSM Lille-Métropole to become the headquarters of the WHO Collaborating Centre for research and in Mental Health training (WHO CC, Lille, France). Its mission is to promote, in France and abroad, innovations in community mental health, and to develop research and training on this topic. Since 2013, WHO CC has been supported in its actions by a health cooperation grouping which brings together fifteen French public and private mental health facilities, in a direct link with WHO Geneva and WHO Europe, and in part with the ECEVE Inserm U1123 research team. In this article we present the action-research that has led the center for the past 20 years and the manner in which it has influenced mental health policy at a national and international level.