Porto Forum: Best Country Poster

Porto_newsletter_greeceFor over 5 years, Greece has sat at the epicenter of a financial crisis, primarily influencing the Greek people’s everyday lives and consequently causing an increase in the rates of mental health problems. When we decided to present a poster titled ‘’Consequences Of The Financial Crisis on The Greek Health Care System – A Review Of A Greek Tragedy’’ for the 23rd EFPT Porto Forum the results were not a matter of heated debate. It was obvious that the extreme austerity measures had affected Greece’s Economy and was increasingly affecting people’s mental health. Unemployment rates soared (36%) and the average tax burden significantly increased (13%), resulting a personal income cut larger than a third. The financial crisis, consequently caused an increase (10%) in the rates of mental health problems. In addition, over 4.000 doctor positions remained vacant as there have been no new job offers made in the Public Health Sector.

Furthermore, the crisis had a huge impact on education, given the fact that scientific and research funds have been cancelled or substantially reduced. Young scientist were not able to start or even to continue their research projects due to a lack of materials and technical infrastructure. How can a young scientist strive to achieve his goals when most of the technical machinery is outdated or simply absent?

As years passed and Greeks could not see any light at the end of the tunnel, the uncertainty led to the assumption that this evolving situation could only get worse. This forced highly educated young scientists to seek new career opportunities abroad, causing a brain drain that has the potential to affect Greece for decades. Between 180.000 and 200.000 well-educated citizens decided to migrate in order to acquire financial and scientific security.

In our presentation, we explained how Greeks overcame these difficulties (such as by becoming more versatile, goal oriented, hardworking, and empathetic), but to be honest after being a victim myself of brain drain, I firmly believe that this phenomenon is greater than originally observed or expected and EU countries should find better ways to deal with it.

Finally, I would like to thank the EFPT local committee, led by Dr Mariana Pinto da Costa, for organising a perfect Forum and making a marked difference in the history of EFPT forums.

Nikitas Arnaoutoglou
Clinical and Research Fellow
Department Of Psychiatry
Oxford University

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