In the 1990s there was a rapid development of com munity-based psychiatric care and rehabilitation provided within the framework of social welfare institutions in Poland. Three new forms of psychiatric care have been available to persons with mental disorders: community self-help houses, specialist nursing services (since 1995), and occupational therapy workshops (since 1992).
Aims: Collection of basic information about community self-help houses functioning in Poland.
Material and method: A questionnaire "HOUSE 2001" was mailed to 315 community self-help houses existing in the country; 307 of them responded and participated in the survey.
Results: Over 12,000 persons entered the programme of specialist nursing services provision, and over 10.000 participated in occupational therapy workshops in the year 2002. Over 9.000 patients participated in rehabilitation programmes provided by community self-help houses; 47% o[the participants had chronic mental disorders, and 53% were mentally disabled. Detailed results of the survey concerning qualifications of the staff, contents of the programme, and organisation of community self-help houses are presented.
Discussion and conclusions: Development of these new forms of social support may contribute to a better quality of assistance provided to persons with mental disorders or mental disability.