EMPOWERMENT IN MENTAL HEALTH: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE, OPERATIONAL PERSPECTIVES FOR USER SELF-DETERMINATION
Keywords:mental health, self-determination, reintegration, social inclusion, dignity
Health is the most important component of human life, and mental health even more so; the quality of mental health depends on the way individuals understand social relationships, manage to integrate in the family, in the group of friends, in the community, in social life. The European project KA202 - Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training (Empow'Them) aims to develop an innovative methodology, which offers continuous, non-disruptive, free training addressed to all professionals. The project is a plea for the important role of self-determination in the recovery and reintegration of people suffering from various mental illnesses. This idea is in line with the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (WHO, 2013) and the European Commission Green Paper of 2005, which states that self-determination and empowerment of people with mental disorders are fundamental concepts in mental health to improve social inclusion. Self-determination is seen to act as a catalyst for beneficiaries' ability to make decisions about their own lives, remobilize, take responsibility for their choices and become full citizens, regardless of the severity of the illness. The project represents a reflection, search and implementation of viable solutions to support people in a vulnerable moment of their lives. The "Empow'Them" project is consistent with the actions supported by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2008), as it aims to contribute to the respect and dignity of people affected by mental illness through professional practices that support their individual freedom.