Italy was the first country to shut down all state psychiatric hospitals. In 1978, Italy enacted Law 180 that began the gradual dismantling of its mental hospitals. The leader of this movement was psychiatrist Franco Basaglia (1924-1980), superintendent of the San Gabriel mental hospital in Trieste at the time. A significant figure in the history of psychiatric rehabilitation, Basaglia is both hailed as a modern-day Phillipe Pinel and castigated as a hopelessly impractical ideologue. Italian psychiatry witnessed dramatic changes as a result of Basaglia’s work. Another result is the innovation of work cooperatives run by and for individuals with psychiatric disabilities all around Italy which have become heralded as models for social enterprise.
The legacy of Dr. Franco Basaglia is an important topic for psychiatric rehabilitation. It represents an example of a world without state mental hospitals. It has also been the catalyst of a whole new modality of self-directed employment by and for individuals with psychiatric disabilities as a major contributor to recovery. To access this new Special Topic in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, part of the PsychOdyssey 450 Special Topics series, click here. To see all of PsychOdyssey Academy’s offerings, click here.