The NGO SMES Europa, as part of the Erasmus + project “Dignity and Well-being” has released a handbook in 8 European languages aimed at helping professionals and social workers dealing with homeless people suffering from mental health problems.
SMES Europa aims to improve the physical, mental and social conditions of homeless and socially-excluded people and so promote their human rights. The complex issues and questions surrounding this topic and how to best serve the affected people was the spark that gave life to this three-year project aiming at launching a European initiative focusing on exchanging efficient practices of effective prevention, support, assistance and inclusion of homeless people with mental problems.
The project started with descriptions of real-life situations, assessing how effective interventions were to proceed to point to innovative ways of doing things in order not only to raise awareness and to educate but also to present concrete proposals for incorporation into the policies in the field of prevention, assistance and inclusion.
Part of the initiative was to integrate learning material from university curricula with guidelines based on real-life experience and work. Thus, the project helps professionals to develop skills to better approach the person in need, becoming more responsive to the peculiarity of any given situation and not just apply ready-made textbook guidelines.
The project has built on an international network of professionals working with homeless and refugees with mental health problems in different kinds of organizations and countries. Through workshops based on the presentation and discussions of cases studies concrete learning resources were developed and incorporated in the learning activities of all project members. After three years of hard work, the Manual of Good Practices is now a reality and can be assessed online by all actors working with socially excluded individuals suffering from mental health issues.
At Eurodiaconia we commend this brilliant piece of work, and we strongly encourage our interested members to make use of the learning material. Recognising that homelessness, social exclusion and mental health are often intersectional issues, our membership is active in promoting integrated approaches working towards social and labour inclusion of the most vulnerable groups in society. As part of our policy work, we wrote a paper mapping the good practices of our members in caring for people’s mental health. We encourage interested actors to consult the publication on our website to gain a better understanding on the initiatives carried forward by our members.
If you wish to consult the Good Practice Manual to promote well-being for homeless people, please visit SMES Europa’s website.
If you would like to know more about our member’s work on mental health, you can read the relevant policy paper on our website.