Radio Nikosia: a participatory approach to mental health care (Barcelona, Spain)
Radio Nikosia is a community project and radio program broadcasting weekly on an independent radio station in Barcelona, Spain, that is produced and directed entirely by people in psychiatric treatment. The project aims to foster a cultural identity among its participants, and to create a new social dynamic of active participation and social integration outside the narrow confines of existing mental health care services and patient–therapist relations. Through the active production of media content (both for radio and, increasingly, television), as well as involvement in a number of cultural projects, Radio Nikosia pursues two objectives: to deconstruct the social stigma surrounding mental illness and to develop spaces of normality in which people with a diagnosis of mental illness can become – and represent themselves through the media as – active social subjects rather than passive objects of psychiatric intervention. The Radio Nikosia community promotes, among other things, an antistigma campaign called Labels are for Clothes and Red sin gravedad (Network without heaviness), an initiative in Barcelona community centres in which workshop participants do not know who has or does not have a diagnosis of mental illness.