My Reflections on the Finnish Open Dialogue Project

“There are one or more whole wards that are unused. I remember visiting one. It looked like an average, spacious hospital unit, but it was … empty. … And the reason … They’ve developed such an effective system of helping people get well from psychosis, and get permanently out of the psychiatric system, that they no longer need so many beds.”

This article was created as a guest-post on Everything Matters: Beyond Meds, a blog-site run by Monica Cassani. The article stems from conversation she had with film-maker Daniel Mackler, the article’s author, who revealed that the psychiatric hospital he’d visited (when making his a film), built in the 1950s, was now mostly empty because they no longer needed the beds due the high success rate of the Open Dialogue approach:

“In June of 2010, I visited Western Lapland in Finland for two weeks. My goal was to make a documentary film on the Open Dialogue project. Although the film is now complete, and I feel it tells their story fairly well, there remains a lot that I left out — things I somehow, for one reason or another, couldn’t capture on camera.

I want to share a few of those missing things here. I first want to share my impressions of arriving at the Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland, which is the nerve center for Finnish Open Dialogue. It all began there, almost thirty years ago. I actually stayed on the hospital grounds for my two weeks in northern Finland, so I had a lot of time to spend wandering around the hospital, talking with patients, and just watching how life unfolded on a day-to-day basis, and in the evenings too …”

You can read more here.


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