Network A Facilitating access and return to the labour market for those who have difficulty in being integrated or reintegrated into a labour market which must be open to everyone.
Project name ”Progress” Coordinated Partnership: First Job as a Way of Socio-psychiatric Rehabilitation
Project number A0663

Project description

The objective of the Development Partnership is to work out standard solutions designed to enhance young schizophrenics' opportunities for finding a job on the open labour market. The Project is underpinned by statistical data: upon coming of age, almost all young people diagnosed as schizophrenics apply for a disability pension. Accordingly, in the case of that group labour market discrimination is hardly a proper term. In fact, schizophrenics are absent from the labour market.

There are no system mechanisms to support the entry of them to the labour market. There are no vocational training courses proposed as an alternative to comprehensive education. There are no socio-psychological rehabilitation centres assisting young people in normal existence and coping with the illness. Available assistance is limited to pills that help to maintain a relative mental equilibrium of the patients.

The Project is innovative in the absence of any studies on the labour market status of young people suffering from schizophrenia or a commonly applied practice of social and occupational integration as a way to overcome illness-inherent limitations. According to foreign partners of the Project and current trends in psychiatry, socially-minded rehabilitation helps patients to retain their social roles, while activity minimizes the risks associated with the most dramatic effects of the illness. Supported by awareness campaigns, such projects help to dispel common stereotype-based beliefs on the activity of people suffering from schizophrenia. It is a case of synergy, since a change in public attitude is a factor that significantly facilitates delivery of activities aiming at social and occupational integration of people with mental disorders.

These assumptions behind the Project are supported by one more vital component: establishing legislative background to support indirect psychiatric care. Activities focused on ill young people, investing in their education and socialization is just the first stage of changes in the standard of care provided to mentally ill persons.

Project beneficiaries are 105 persons: 20 young people aged 16 to 21 years with mental disorders, their parents and caretakers, staff members involved in the Project and volunteers. The patients will move to Interdepartmental Socio-psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre (MORS), which is to be established under the Project. The Centre is modelled on Danish hostels with homely rather than institutional atmosphere. In addition to overall health improvement, the programme of activities will include learning and preparation for living within the society. A special educational offer involving two learning paths has been developed: the participants either will follow education on upper secondary comprehensive school level and beyond or opt for vocational training in two jobs: gardener or small catering cook. Learning will be combined with interpersonal communication workshops to improve their social capabilities and learn skills that are required on the labour market. Professional vocational counsellors will help the beneficiaries to integrate occupationally, plan the future and assess strengths and predispositions. Each beneficiary will be given individual treatment. He/she will follow a dedicated rehabilitation programme coached by his/her personal tutor who will be responsible for documenting the process. Professional individual, group and family psychotherapy will be provided throughout the term of the Project to ensure that beneficiaries follow the programme in good shape. Art and music therapy will be also available, as well as a series of psycho-education meetings, insofar as it is vital to learn the beneficiaries how to recognize a relapse of the illness early. Secondary school students will have an opportunity to follow additional dedicated courses at MORS: support in learning progress, workshops on learning techniques, coping with stress and advice on subsequent learning path. Those beneficiaries who have opted for vocational education path will learn the secrets of the trade and improve their skills at placements.

An additional offer will be available to all: cultural, scientific and sports events, circles of interest, trips and outings will help them to overcome social fears, establish social relationships and develop self-presentation skills. Language and computer circles will help to integrate the beneficiaries with information-based society of today.

The success of this Project of several month will be to a significant degree conditional on the skills of staff members working with young people. Therefore, the Development Partnership has prepared a number of training events, workshops, courses and seminars, whereby the caretakers (psychologists, nurses, educators, social workers and teachers) will improve their professional skills, techniques and knowledge.

The Project will involve special events for beneficiaries' parents who have for years struggled with problems on their own. Family therapy and meetings will be held and mutual assistance groups formed.

Dissemination of Project outcomes will be intended to promote good practice and the release of a tested model of rehabilitation of young people with mental disorders. Enabling legislation for the development of a network of MORS Centres and promotion of the idea of socio-psychiatric rehabilitation will the lasting effect from the Project.