In 2001, the Council of Medical Associations of Catalonia created the Fundació Galatea with the aim of promoting the health, the physical and mental well-being and the quality of life of physicians, with hope of eventually incorporating other health professions. Before long, the community of nurses was included, and more recently, so were veterinarians, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists and social workers, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that better health care is provided to those they serve.
These health professionals have a strong commitment to society, and suffer from all sorts of pressures that can alter their state of mind and psycho-emotional balance. Paradoxically, although these professionals encourage their patients to be health-conscious, they often fail to care for their own personal health.
Care for health professionals with mental and/or addictive disorders in Catalonia and the rest of Spain has been provided for nearly 20 years. A pioneering program in this area was the Program for Assistance to Ill Physicians (Programa d'Atenció al Metge Malalt, or PAIMM), as was the RETORN program, designed to help ill nurses. With the creation of the Fundació Galatea through the initiative of the Council of Medical Associations of Catalonia, the goal of guaranteeing the health and quality of life of health professionals became more tangible, and the creation of programs with this same end became generalized.
This progress is the result of attending to a whole series of different factors that can affect not only the health of these professionals, but also their practice and, as a result, the health and well-being of the population they serve.