Empowering Persons With Mental Disabilities For Participation To Decision Making Processes

Project Summary
Grantee : Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative (RUSIHAK)
Purpose : Disseminating community based model within mental institutions and enabling patients to participate in decision making processes
Location : Istanbul
Grant Amount : 150.000 TL
Project Partner : Bakirkoy Hospital for Mental Health
Period : 15 April 2011-15 April 2012
Status : Completed
Project Year : 2011


There are 2 million people with mental health problems in Turkey. At one point in their lives, 18% of the population seeks support or services from one of the 8 mental health institutions. There are almost 1 million diagnosed people with mental health challenges and only 7500 beds in psychiatricintensive care units of hospitals. The mental health institutions are administered with an “institution based” approach which does not support development and rehabilitation of individuals.(RUSİHAK, 2008)

Project Goals

  • In Bakirkoy Hospital for Mental Health:
    • Needs based analysis will be conducted with the participation of 120 patients.
    • 100 hospital staff will be trained on issues such as community based models and patient participation through seminars.
    • An Advisory Council of Patients will be established with the participation of 20 patients.
  • The model will be promoted within Ministry of Health so that it can be applied in other 7 mental health institutions in Turkey.

Project Developments

  • Project team moved into the day care unit of the Bakirkoy Hospital for Mental Health. The activities in day care unit are as follows:
    • Weekly meetings were organized for the patient council work groups
    • Participants of the meetings shared their own experiences and problems they observed in the hospital
    • They discussed solutions and suggestions for those problems
    • Self-esteem building and interview method trainings were planned for council members
  • On 26th of September, Patient Council and meeting outcomes of the day care unit were introduced to the other units of the hospital through a seminar.
  • Representatives of the Patient Council participated to a nurse training seminar and introduced the patient council.
  • Rusihak was invited to become a member of LOC Voice in Health, an umbrella organization of patient councils in Holland. As a member of LOC, Rusihak and patient council representatives will have access to trainings and capacity building activities.
  • By December, patient council started to gather with the participation of other patients from different units of the hospital.


“The willingness of a patient to exit the clinic for the first time since 80’s, to attend to the patient council... The support of nurses to prepare the patients to come to the council…The happiness of the patient while on their way to the council... A Patient exiting the clinic after 30 years... This is a very touching success story of the project for us!”

Project Representative of RUSIHAK, Istanbul


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