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Recovery, discovery and rediscovery in community mental health

The legacy of Guido Pieters
Guido Pieters shaped the vision of the European Community Mental Health Service providers network (EUCOMS). He was the chair of the writers group of the consensus document and main author of our publication in BMC Psychiatry. Guido defined the 6 principles of community mental health care: human rights, public health, recovery, effectiveness of interventions, a network approach and peer expertise. I present these principles in this video.  

Primary care
Guido’s broad vison on community mental health resonated in other sectors and regions of the world. For Guido, primary care is the heart of community mental health care and he started a collaboration between EUCOMS and the working group mental health of the European Forum of primary care (EFPC). He also inspired our colleague Takashi Iseda to make a Japanese translation of the EUCOMS document.

Forgotten expertise
In the summer of 2018 Guido invited me to come to his house. He had a stack of books on community mental health that he wanted to give to me. On our return from holiday my wife and I drove to Flanders and were welcomed heartily by Guido and his wife. We talked about our holiday, literature, work, travels, drank prosecco and looked at the books. I was moved and amazed. Over the last 10 years I thought I made many discoveries on the interaction between social environment and mental health, interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration, bringing together social and clinical psychology and the neighborhood as a unit for mental health services. I thought these were new issues in the 21st century. Guido’s gift, 9 books written between 1973 and 1997 made me aware that these concepts are by no means new. It is time for a rediscovery of this forgotten expertise.

Rediscovery in community mental health
The rediscovery of the interaction between environment and mental health is a task for many sectors and disciplines, be it in mental health care, primary care or the social domain. It is also a task for academia, as the future of academic psychiatry may be social. I am sure that the researcher Guido Pieters would  have agreed with me that the opportunity of today is the development of implementation science.

The long hot summer of 2018 was the last one for my dear colleague Guido Pieters. He had been diagnosed with an incurable disease in November 2017.  He had decided to devote his remaining time to the quality of his life which meant doing meaningful things together with his wife, his friends and colleagues. I was happy to be in the last category and together we continued to work until his death in October 2018 on community mental health care. So the best way to commemorate Guido is by action and evaluation in community mental health. Mental health services that share our vision are welcome to join EUCOMS. Let’s go for it!

René Keet, October 7th 2019

EUCOMS Newsletters

Periodically we send our contacts and partners a newsletter containing information about our activities, an overview of conferences, seminars, courses and a selection of the the latest publications in the field of community mental health care. 

Our latest newsletter, March 2019 (nr.10):



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