The Zurich Program for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services

Present-day Psychiatric Care in the Canton of Zurich

Through the expansion of out-patient and semi-residential services, the Zurich Psychiatric Concept of 1995 has been brought into line with international care standards. When compared with national and international standards, psychiatric care in the Canton is well-equipped as far as institutions are concerned. However, the diversification of the care being offered has made treating patients with complex disorders more difficult, as, in most cases, several institutes are involved simultaneously. Care is being made more difficult by this lack of co-operation between the various institutes resulting in, among other things, an increased risk of re-hospitalization.

 

New Focal Points in Care Research

Up until now mental health care has concentrated its attention primarily on chronically ill patients and those with a long-term illness. However, psychiatric research has now acknowledged the significance of early recognition and early treatment of the mentally ill in the long-term course of their illness. Another factor, which has been absent until now, is the integration of patients into normal working life, enabling them to return to the labor market. The institutions and services of the Canton of Zurich, however, cannot yet sufficiently cater for these new requirements in the field of care.

 

The Zurich Program for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services

The Zurich Program for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services (ZInEP), with 9 diverse sub-projects, aims to concentrate on this interface between research and care. The program targets primarily patients with serious illnesses and the need for complex care. The new care projects should provide reference points for the development of psychiatric care not only in Switzerland, but also in other European countries. In order for the program to have a sustainable effect, the aim is to involve the Canton of Zurich and the health insurance companies when the new tried and tested services are introduced into the standard care program of the health care sector. Prof. Dr. med. Dipl.-Psych. Wulf Rössler, former Director of the Clinic for Social Psychiatry and General Psychiatry Zurich West at the University Psychiatric Clinic of Zurich and Professor emeritus of Social Psychiatry at the University of Zurich will assume the overall leadership of the Zurich Program in co-operation with the Integrated Psychiatry Department of Winterthur and under the organizing body of the Psychiatric University Clinic of Zurich. ZInEP is being funded by a generous bequest from a foundation. The Program's 9 projects will be implemented from 1 July 2009 and will continue over a period of six years.