Australian policymakers often cite the Trieste mental health system in reports promoting the transfer of resources from hospitals to community services. The so-called ‘Trieste model’ appeals to both the left and right of politics: the left celebrates the Trieste mental health system’s great achievements with social inclusion, and the right understands that minimising hospital bed numbers is necessary to contain healthcare costs. Hence, government reports present the Trieste model as an exemplar of best practice. And there is a broad consensus among Australian mental health professionals supporting community-focused care.However, O’Connor and Clark (2019) warn against policy prescriptions where all parties are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. While mental health policy is complex, governments look for simple solutions, which are chosen because they follow the political zeitgeist; gurus and their disciples actively promote them; and their uptake around the world encourages further adoption. Based on their description, we argue the Trieste model is a policy bandwagon. Is it time to critically scrutinise the Trieste model, and whether it should be cited as an exemplar of best practice for this country?
- Trieste mental health system
- mental health policy
- basagilian de-hospitalised model