Slezská Diakonie presents its project “Together in uniqueness and social inclusion” funded by European Social Fund (Support of Activities and Programmes in Social Inclusion). The project was implemented in the period from 1 November 2019 to 31 May 2022 and involved registered social services of the Slezská diakonie: social rehabilitation and social activation services for people with disabilities. The main aim of the project was to support the social inclusion of people with mental health issues and people with autism and their family members by using innovative approaches, multidisciplinary, professionalisation and public education.

Some of the main key elements of the project were:

  • The long-term training for four social workers of social activation services, which focused on innovative approaches in autism therapy. The O.T.A./Open Therapy Autism training utilises the positive responses of children with autism and through reinforcement/strengthening leads to a reduction in unwanted behaviours and subsequently a smoother course of social inclusion.
  • The development of a multidisciplinary community team in two regions. The team provided support to adults with lived experience of mental illness and consisted of a social worker, psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist, general nurse, peer consultant and psychotherapist. Overall, the team supported a total of 186 people with disabilities.
  • The professionalisation of the staff of the multidisciplinary field team, which has been trained in proven methods of social work aimed at supporting people with mental illness. This included training in the CARE/Supportive Relationship Approach model, which builds on the person’s strengths and how to find/strengthen them, and training in Open Dialogue, which puts the supported person in a key decision-making role and gives them back their life competencies.
  • The methodological support for social services workers of Slezská diakonie. In this activity, a total of 17 children with autism spectrum disorder were supported by an expert in alternative communication for a total of 670 hours of support. The training activities focused on the application of innovative approaches hand in hand with the requirements of mental health care reform.
  • Activities aimed at educating the general and professional public with the aim of humanising and introducing people not only to the topic of mental illness, but especially to mental health, which is now a burning and frequently discussed topic. Several talks and workshops were held in cooperation with community services, as well as two professional conferences.

Through the key activities, the above-mentioned people were supported, both in the form of direct support, which had an impact on the quality of their lives. This has also led to the professionalisation of social service professionals who are now applying new approaches for the benefit of people with disabilities. Slezská diakonie continues to be a disseminator of good practice and influences the public awareness of the equality of people with disabilities in a positive way.