The Trieste Mental Health Department (MHD) [Dipartimento di Salute Mentale (DSM)] is a public, community-based mental healthcare service of the Trieste Local Healthcare Agency [L’Azienda per I Servizi Sanitari n.1 Triestina (ASS n.1)], which aims to provide resources and encourage community-based health care services. MHD is responsible for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental disorders within the local population. It focuses on the elimination of discrimination, stigma and exclusion, as well as the promotion of full and complete rights of citizenship for people with mental illnesses. Recognised for years as one of the most advanced public mental healthcare services in the world, the Trieste MHD continues to remain a leader in innovative approaches to mental healthcare aimed at the emancipation and social reintegration of persons suffering from mental disorders. 

The MHD has been reconfirmed by WHO as a Collaborating Centre (CC) for Research and Training in Mental Health for the next 4 years with the following terms of reference:

  • Assist WHO in guiding countries in deinstitutionalization and the development of integrated and comprehensive Community Mental Health services;
  • Contribute to WHO work on person-centred care through Whole Systems & Recovery approaches: innovative practices in community Mental Health;
  • Support WHO in strengthening Human Resources for Mental Health.

MHD Mission statement:

  • The MHD shall work to eliminate any form of stigmatisation, discrimination and exclusion concerning mentally ill persons.
  • The MHD is engaged to actively improve full rights of citizenship for mentally ill persons.
  • The MHD shall ensure that the community mental health services of the Local Health Company (LHC) have a coherent and unique organisation as a whole, through co-ordination of actions and links with the other services of LHC, particularly with general health districts and emphasizing the relationships with the Community and its institutions.
Summary of relevant work: 

In alignment with WHO, the WHO CC supports Member States in the deinstitutionalization and development of integrated community-based mental health services by providing guidance on local and national policies in terms of leadership and management, implementation and workforce development.

The WHO CC further provides education and training activities for planners and professionals on whole systems and recovery approaches, including alternatives for acute care; comprehensive community mental health centres; rehabilitation, recovery and social inclusion services; deinstitutionalization and whole systems change; early intervention integrated network; and social enterprises' and cooperatives' technology, operations and policies.


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