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|Project:||Development of Comprehensive Community-Based Mental Health Services in Sofia|
|Program Area:||Community Mental Health|
|Date:||March 2008 – May 2009|
|Donor(s):||Phare, Tulip Foundation, Ivaylo Mandioukov|
Currently, in Sofia, a city with a population of 2 million, there are no sheltered or supported home facilities for the mentally ill, nor are there any social skill training programs or employment services for those facing severe mental illness. Furthermore, there are limited "sheltered workshops" and only two functioning day care center programs. Thus, by setting up a successful example of a model practice for delivering community mental health services to people with severe mental impairment, this project will pave the way for an improved approach in Bulgaria.
The aim of the project is to create a multifunctional system of community mental health services, including a day care center (DCC), a sheltered home program (SH), a hotline, and an information center for mental health (ICMH). These will assist with the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals with severe mental illness back into society. The project infrastructure involves reconstructing a day care centre, instituting a sheltered home program, and establishing an information centre for mental health.
The sheltered home program will have a daily living training program, programs for socialization and a therapeutic community. The daycare centre will take care of case management, psychiatric home care, drop-in patients, individual and vocational rehabilitation programs. The information center for mental health will design a public awareness campaign, launch a hotline for the general public and facilitate access to information. Seminars on mental health will be held for general practitioners, journalists, employers and labor office directorates and students.
Training and mentoring will also be provided for staff of the SH, DCC, and ICMH, volunteers and users, to foster an understanding of psychosocial rehabilitation, mental health documentation and regulations, as well as community psychiatry. The training consists of 11 modules. Furthermore, an internship program will develop linkages with other community based mental health services and training and supervision will be provided to patients, users of the services, and relatives. By the end of the project, the new model of services will set a good example and provide grounds for improvements in government policy and legislation.