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How does the family confront the crime?
Annals of General Psychiatryvolume 7, Article number: S204 (2008)
Despite the literature about the Psychiatric Reform in Greece, there are chronic mentally ill patients who are now hospitalized in the Psychiatric hospital of Thessaloniki, often a long distance away from their families. They are patients who have committed crimes and were found irresponsible due to mental illness. From the clinical practice, it has been observed that many of them have no visitors, whereas, some others have regular and often visits. It is also known that some families show great interest in finally taking the patient back home, which is demonstrated by the number of declassification trials they are willing to endure, where they testify in court that they want to take the responsibility of continuing the treatment at home.
Materials and methods
42 patients, who are now hospitalized in the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, were studied. 24 of them are manslayers, 8 have attempted to commit homicide, 6 physical assault and 4 arson and damages alter menses. Their age ranges from 25 to 78 years and the mean time of their hospitalization is 8 years.
We found that 16 of our patients have no visitors at all (38%). As regards to the frequency, 10 patients have regular (at least once a month) and the other 16 have rare visitation (at least once in six months). When we related the frequency of the visits with the number of the trials in order to return to their families, we found that the trials were 5 times more in the group which had regular visits and 8 times more in the group which had no visits compared with the one with the rare visits. Moreover, when we related the visits with the crime, we found that, as regards for the manslayers (mostly psychotics), they had visitors at least once a month, despite the fact that in 2/3 of the cases the victim was a member of the family. The ones who have attempted homicide have visitors once in two months and the rest (mostly with substance abuse related diseases) once in six months.
It seems that the frequency of visits does not reflect the interest of the family in taking the patient back home. So, the patients who have no visits are roughly divided in two groups: the ones whose families are far away only as regards to the kilometric distance, and the ones whose families are absent altogether.
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