Belgium reinvents approach to mental health

Belgium reinvents approach to mental health

Questioning assumptions can lead to innovation in mental health.

Question assumptions. This gemstone is one of my favorite gemstones that I have acquired in my work with creative thinking and problem solving.

why something must be That Way?Why cannot Do you want to change a tradition that has lasted for many years?What makes this rule correct?

These questions brought me to the Belgian city of Geel, a city of about 41,000 residents well-known to history buffs for its mental health concerns.

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according to Catholic OnlineIn the seventh century AD, a young girl named Dymphna fled Ireland and settled in Geel, where she used her wealth to build a hospital for the poor. In 1349, before she became a saint of mental illness, a church was built in her honor. It became a refuge for many people around the world seeking mental health treatment. Gil became so famous that the church had to be enlarged in 1480.

But this is where the problem arises. So many pilgrims flocked to Gill needing mental health assistance that the church was unable to accommodate them.

Gill residents question the assumption: Why can’t they help those suffering from mental illness? Why can’t people with no formal training help?

For centuries, the stigma of mental illness has led to people being shunned, discriminated against, and ostracized. Things seem to have changed, at least in Gill. The community opens its doors to people with mental health disorders and places them in their homes.

According to Comer and Comer (2020), “Local residents welcomed these residents into their homes, and many stayed, forming the world’s first ‘colony’ of mentally ill people.” By the 1930s, approximately 4,000 people with mental illness People with mental illness live in Gir, accounting for about a quarter of the total population (Chen, 2016).

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This tradition continues to this day.One feature is New York Times Geel has been described as “a symbol of a humane alternative to the neglect or institutionalization of people with mental illness found elsewhere” (Stevis-Gridneff & Ryckewaert, 2023).

Despite progress in the United States, mental health stigma persists. A 2019 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 33% of participants agreed with the statement: “People with mental health disorders scare me.” Slightly more respondents (39%) said they would be more concerned if they spotted a People have a mental health disorder and they will view that person differently.

Whether it’s 1480 or 2024, some in Gill may hold similar prejudices. It’s good to know that questioning of assumptions prevails.

refer to

American Psychological Association. (May 1, 2019). Survey: Americans becoming more open about mental health. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/05/mental-health-survey

Catholicism Online. (nd). British stone.Ding Funa. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=222

Chen, A. (July 1, 2016). For centuries, a small town has welcomed strangers with mental illness. national public radio. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/01/484083305/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness

urban population. (nd). Jill. https://www.citypopulation.de/en/belgium/antwerpen/turnhout/13008__geel/

Comer, R. J., and Comer, J. S. (2021). abnormal psychology (11th ed.). worth.

Stevis-Gridneff, M. and Ryckewaert, K. (2023, April 21). It was a radical experiment in mental health care that had been tested for centuries. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/21/world/europe/belgium-geel-psychiatri…

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