Mental illness affects around 27% (83m.) of Europeans annually (European Social Work, 2013). Studies comparing community-based services with other models of care show significant better outcomes on adherence to treatment, clinical symptoms, quality of life, housing stability, and vocational rehabilitation (Braun P. et al.1981; Conway M. et al.1994; Bond et al.2001)
More specifically, community based mental health promotion has been highlighted in:
The European Mental Health Action Plan for 2010-2020, which interacts with inclusion policies at a national level
The Mental Health Pact (2009) encouraging policy makers to support the transition towards community-based settings in mental health care
The Council of Ministers invited Member States and the Commission to set up a cooperation process on Mental Health and Well-being, into "managing the evolution of community-based and socially-inclusive approaches to mental health" (2011)
Housing is intended as a strategy that focuses on the transition that goes from aid to inclusion.
It is founded on the safeguard of rights (citizenship, stigma reduction, etc.), on the rationalisation of public budget and on development of active and supportive citizenship.
It is closely connected to the internationally well-known and diffused approach of Recovery. The right to housing, into the context of disability, offers an alternative to non-appropriate institutionalization. The excessive institutionalization of people with mental disability encumbers on public finances and it has repercussions on the quality of care services
Housing is a complex process that requires qualified interventions and the activation of skills and competencies of each local community actors
The development of a community based housing needs be supported through innovative and tailored learning opportunities for individual learners experiencing mental health issues, supports the EU agenda for adult learning and contributes to Europe 2020 Flagships "Platform against Poverty" & "New Skills for New Jobs". This Strategy includes lifting 20 million people out of social exclusion.
A transnational action in education and training is necessary to provide:
- Updated, correct, interdisciplinary information appropriate for all interlocutors, that circulates among all the actors involved in the different stages of Housing
- A flexible educational model to Housing, addressed to local communities, developed starting from the experience of those that are directly or indirectly involved with housing
HERO targets are local community actors where Housing is active or can be activated, interested in non-formal and informal learning validation: civil society, volunteers, professionals, users and families: often low-skilled adults on community based inclusion subjects.
In particular HERO's target groups are:
- 1. Citizens (volunteers, schools, neighbours, local residents, shopkeepers, etc)
- 2. Mental Health Services' professionals
- 3. Other Public Agencies
- 4. Users and their families
Improving housing services through educational pathways meets both ethical and cultural interests and economical sustainability; HERO will stimulate the local communities to face a number of needs, at international level summarized as:
- housing policies not sufficient to face population needs, least of all people with fragilities.
- social stigma to be reduced: often people with mental disability are considered “dangerous” and are marginalized
- access to services to be facilitated (shops, public transport, meeting places, social services, etc)
- knowledge of the local community to be enhanced by the staff
- relationship with other roommates, neighbours and with one’s own family to be strengthened
- usability and maintenance of the apartment where the person lives, the residential context conditions, such as the level of noise pollution, traffic, suburbs organization etc. to improve
- nutrition, leisure time organization, discovery and support of the person’s capabilities to manage within a process of empowerment and the respect of the person’s rights
- budgeting and management of prescribed drugs.
- 1. Create a European curriculum, integrated by international Housing Quality Indicators (tool-kit), to help local communities to develop skills and competences, and their validation, for an effective Housing process
- 2. Facilitate the access to education on Housing of Local Communities
- 3. Increase quality of informal learning (work, family, leisure time) and non-formal learning in the social inclusion field in relation to Housing pathways
- 4. Widen the key competencies of professionals and non-professionals that operate in the social inclusion field
- 5. Reduce inequalities of learning results on behalf of people with severe mental disease but even those citizens that don’t usually pursue any form of lifelong learning on inclusion
- 6. Valorise the housing competencies.