Solidarity in the treatment of mental illness in Hungary: A case study of the Awakenings Foundation as a vehicle for change
CEU Center for Policy Studies
Place of Publication:
CPS Working Papers
The paper contributes to the scholarship on civil society capacity to change state policy and practice. It does so by providing a case study of a Hungarian foundation active in the field of mental health, and how it employs different tactics to advance its integrated approach to mental health. The paper demonstrates how the organization under study, the Awakenings Foundation, works to convince others of its integrated and solidarity-based approach to mental health: first, through their attempts to change social attitudes towards mental illness in Hungary, second, to involve both the patient, his or her friends and relatives in the treatment of mental illness and, third to widen the scope of public sector professionals who are willing and able to respond to mental health problems. During its 25 years of existence, the Foundation seems to have made progress in all three areas, while at the same time falling short of achieving (or contributing to) system-wise structural change. Working at the margins of psychiatry and at the margins of state-organized psychiatric care, it has played a key role in getting community-based psychiatric care placed on the map, and have used links across and within different professional groups to do so. However, greater impact would require major policy change accompanied by adequate resources, something that has still not happened.