People with mental health disorders are particularly at risk of social marginalization due to the specific nature of that illness, but also stigmatization. In 2018 in the Łódzkie voivodship, more than 84 000 people received counselling for mental health disorders (Łódzkie voivodship healthcare statistical guide). 75% support themselves mainly from a disability pension. We know from our research that many attempts at social rehabilitation and occupational activation end in fiasco. Not only are the classes offered to people with mental health disorders of little use from a job-seeking point of view, at times they do not stimulate and do not arouse interest. Due to the project “Voluntary work as a tool to actively integrate people with mental health disorders” (2012-14), we realized the huge therapeutic value of voluntary work.
The project is intended to make people with mental health disorders volunteers and include them in community aid voluntary work.
We will begin working with 4-10 organizations (such as community welfare, healthcare, animal welfare, cultural institutions), that have volunteers and that designate people for training to be voluntary work coordinators. We will train volunteers on voluntary work, types of community activity and defending one’s rights, and provide them with individual support from specialists when taking up voluntary work long term. They will perform services in line with their capabilities and interests for a period of eighteen months. We will produce educational materials and organize an integration event to promote voluntary work and activate sufferers.
Twenty people with mental health disorders and eight voluntary work coordinators from Łódzkie voivodship facilities will participate directly in the measures.
People with mental health disorders will do approximately 2000 hours of voluntary work and become more independent and self-confident.