George Freris, in memoriam
George Freris left us on the afternoon of Tuesday 23rd of September 2020, as he was working in Sotiria Hospital, where he was the head of the Child Psychiatry Department. A sudden heart attack abruptly stopped his course on this world. The news of his death took us by surprise. It is difficult for us to accept that the most lively of all our friends, George, is no longer with us. Originating from the island of Syros, he studied Medicine in Italy and specialised in child psychiatry. He trained in family therapy, social psychiatry, health facilities management, and he came in contact with the principles of psichiatria democratica and of the social-community psychiatry. He was married to the Italian psychologist Margarita Barolo with whom he had two sons, who grew up to be two fine young men. He was a member of H.E.S.T.A.F.T.A. and of EFTA and was inspired by systemic epistemology. With constant interventions to the public dialogue, he was involved with unrelenting passion and courage in the psychiatric reform, protesting, many times alone, against the problematic aspects of it in our country. He participated in systemic events and had a close friendship and collaboration with psychology professor Nadrone Giorgio from Arrezo in Toscan. With the conscience of an active citizen, he was an active pioneer in every fight, and he left an important body of work in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry. After a decisive presence in the Attica Psychiatric Hospital for Children, where along with the children and nurses he played a key role in abolishing the asylum, he worked in Mytilene, at the island of Lesbos, where he founded the Community Centre for the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Vostanio General Hospital, and also at Sotiria Hospital, where he founded the Community Centre for Mental Health, in Attica square. A child psychiatrist, a therapist-traveller, he supported children and families in islands of the Aegean that did not have any services, like Leipsoi in earlier and Limnos in later years. Always full of life and energy, he was in love with life and was loved by patients, friends and colleagues. George Freris was a pioneering example of a creative reformer in this country. He had a vision for public mental health and a great contribution to therapy and the community, which he calls on all of us, old and younger comrades, to continue.
Dimitris Georgiadis, colleague and friend, October 10, 2020