A Radical Experiment in Mental Health Care, Tested Over Centuries

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Koba Ryckewaert: Complete Post through this link…

A painful loop has defined Iosif’s 53 years on earth: trauma, mental breakdown, psychiatric institutionalization.

From his native Romania to a failed asylum bid in Belgium and later divorce and financial distress, Iosif’s condition has punctuated crises in his life that often spiraled out of control.

But as he sat at the dining table overlooking the woods through wide glass doors, he seemed at peace.

He spoke about his daily chores (feeding the donkey, doing the dishes), favorite pastimes (reading the Bible, shopping), worries (forgetting to take his pills, overspending).

In the living room, the sounds of cartoons filled the air. Etty, 71, and Luc Hayen, 75, were transfixed watching a children’s show involving a mouse on an outlandish adventure. The house cat was curled up on a cream sofa.

All of them live with Ann Peetermans, a 47-year-old beautician, and her teenage son in a long-term arrangement where people with mental illnesses move in with local families.

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