• deinstitutionalization;
  • Europe;
  • family caregivers;
  • health care reform;
  • mental health services

Objective: To provide a framework of mental health care reform across Europe.

Method: On the basis of summary quantitative indices and expert ratings of broad aspects of mental health care structure, the process and outcome of psychiatric reform common trends and differences are outlined.

Results: There has been a broad trend away from an institutional model of care with the mental hospital as the dominant institution, and community- and general hospital-based mental health services of varying comprehensiveness are in place in most countries. The social and broad community aspects of psychiatric reform have generally been somewhat less successful than changes in service set-up. Assessment of reform outcomes proves particularly difficult.

Conclusion: Psychiatric reform processes have achieved some of their aims, and there are broadly similar trends. Regional variation is substantial and may be as important as cross-national differences. Mental health care reform is ongoing across the European region.