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Arch Hellen Med, 32(6), November-December 2015, 758-765


The mental health of mental health professionals of non-governmental organizations in the national program "Psychargos":
The effects of the economic crisis

C. Depastas,1 G. Pierrakos2
1Co-directed Postgraduate Program "Environmental and Occupational Health Risk Assessment and Management", Athens,
2Department of Healthcare and Welfare Management, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE Investigation of the mental health of mental health professionals working in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) included in the Greek National Program "Psychargos" during the period of economic crisis, and impact analysis of their wages cash flow.

METHOD The study was conducted on 121 mental health professionals from 14 NGOs in Attica using the internationally accepted General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). This questionnaire explores the presence of mental disorders based on the following four scales: (a) Physical problems, (b) stress, (c) depression, and (d) social functioning. Additional socioeconomic-demographic questions were added, covering the financial status and payment delays.

RESULTS The majority of the participating professionals were women (95, 78.5%), and they were mainly single, with an average age of 33 years. Their average duration of employment in their National Program Units was 50 months. They were owed on the average 4.5 monthly salaries, with a maximum salary delay over the last 3 years reaching 7.27 on average. According to the responses on the GHQ, 63.6% of the sample showed possible indications of mental illness. The factors found associated with this were longer duration of work in the Units and a greater number of salaries owed at the time of questioning. Significant correlation was found between a lower family income and a higher number of overdue salaries over the last three years.

CONCLUSIONS The mental health of NGO mental health professionals working in the National Program "Psychargos" has been negatively affected by the difficulties caused by the socio-economic crisis in their Units and specifically on the payroll. This phenomenon constitutes a public health risk, as a sharp increase in mental illness and of the demand for mental health services is observed under the current social-economic conditions in Greece.

Key words: Economic crisis, Mental health, Mental health professionals, Non-governmental organizations (NGO).

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