Helping People with Psychiatric Disorders in Work Sector Insertion

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: January 2011 - Project end date: November 2012
Project number: 2010-78
Beneficiary: Ambulatorio Psichiatrico-Psicologico Associato “Angelo Azzurro”

The Working Sector Insertion Project for psychiatric patients takes the preceding Home assistance Project as a starting point. The former project, which was financially sustained by the Nando Peretti Foundation a year ago, actually gave good results both from the psychiatric and social points of view. The patients involved in the project, each of them with different mental disorders, succeeded in achieving a good standard of autonomy and could be introduced into a working environment thanks to the fact that they could attend some goldsmith's art and photography courses recognized by Latium Regional Government. Their personal achievements enhanced their self-esteem and reinforced their confidence in their own skills leading to a stronger motivation for change. Due to the constant support given by our rehabilitation operators, these patients had the chance to recall the skills they had lost during their illness and they were also given the possibility to exploit their hidden resources.

All these facts made the organization Angelo Azzurro convinced that it is important for the association not only to follow this path but even more important would be to extend its intervention to at least 10 patients, aged from 20 to 30, in order to give these people the same opportunity both from the relational and working points of view.

Help and support will be needed along the path to assure the patients a better social reinstatement: some psychologists will tutor and lead them all along their way.
The Association selected some craftwork workshops dealing with painting, photography and goldsmith's art all run by master craftsmen. The target is to work on the dignity and respect of the person as the quality of life and the social function of people can't be evaluated only according to productivity.
The intervention will be carried out thanks to Public Social Services support, at least from the legal tutorship point of view. All patients will be insured so that craftsmen will be able to work more confidently.

The patient's work will be in the form of training courses aiming at giving the student the possibility to experience and put into practice the skills he or she will be acquiring.
The patient-student will alternate theory and practice with the help of tutors guiding him or her along the formation.

This project will be developed through some main stages:

• Preliminary evaluation of the patient (detection of personal skills and their strengthening)
• Project implementation
• Check of the goals achieved during the project (results will be evaluated on a regular basis and the project monitoring will be performed through objective evaluations and scales, too.)

From a psychodynamic point of view it will be possible to work out a saner and more integrated Self strengthening of the Self's defences of the patient. Thanks to the help of their tutors, the patients will be able to recognize and express their personal needs and feelings complying with their basic needs previously frustrated. They will also try to modify their psychopathological behaviours thus facilitating their personal integration.
With the help of the tutor the patient will search out and reappraise the concepts of the Self and the Object eventually developing a more realistic vision of the Ego in relation to other people's actions.

The project will also include planning, defining and monitoring stages. The first will be characterized by an activity schedule agreed by the trainee (patient) , the craftsman (painter, photographer, goldsmith), and the tutor (psychologist).
During this phase not only will be define all the student's expectations, fears or worries, but it will be also taken into consideration and evaluate the possible help and working techniques needed by him or her.
During the defining stage an operational working programme will be determined as well as a suitable way of carrying out the project. A clear determination of the objectives and results will also be achieved during this second phase.
Furthermore, it will be decided which student's skills had better to be checked and improved, and which practical results will better show the effective improvement of the skills. It even will be decided whether or not such skills will be actually belonging to the student.

Throughout the monitoring stage all the considerations coming from the patient-trainee, the master craftsman and tutor will be of great importance as they will represent a useful feed-back to collect information data. Such data will be added to the evaluation data taken from the questionnaires filled out by the craftsman and the tutor along with the self-evaluation questionnaires filled out by the patients during the preliminary evaluation stage.

The Project on Working Sector Insertion foresees an improvement of patients' performances in the personal autonomy sphere, the betterment of their working skills, control of their emotional impulses and the development of more satisfactory relationships. Angelo Azzurro is expecting the patients to improve their behaviour by means of the use of their personal skills and resources which will allow them to express their personal tastes. Such an improvement will undoubtedly enhance the cognitive, relational, social and sensory-motor spheres of the patients.
All this will lead to the production of handmade articles, photos and paintings which will be shown and sold on exhibitions and even on internet. Thus it will be possible in the future, to establish a patients' co-operative association representing a possible starting point for the patients' working opportunities.
Furthermore, the patients showing greater experience will be able to tutor less experienced patients.

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