Social and Mental Hygiene: Models of Mental Illness Prevention in Twentieth-Century Greece (1900–1980)

  • Despo Kritsotaki
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


For most of the twentieth century prevention of mental illness in Greece was part of ‘hygiene’. In the early part of the century ‘social hygiene’, which encompassed the principles and methods for protecting and promoting public health and had strong links to eugenics, prioritised physical aspects of mental heath promotion. During the first post-war decades, concerns about psychological trauma intensified, and mental illness was brought to the foreground. A dynamic ‘mental hygiene’ movement emerged, which centred on psychosocial notions of health and illness prevention. The chapter reveals the ways in which models of prevention were shaped by sociopolitical conditions and developments within the mental health professions, and highlights that both social and mental hygiene emphasised public education and mental health protection in childhood. However, Kritsotaki argues that ultimately neither social nor mental hygiene managed to make a considerable impact on policy.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Despo Kritsotaki
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CreteCreteGreece

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