promoting  Dignified  Life  and  Mental  Health

Bucharest  16-18  MARCH 2011



  SHARING & PARTICIPATING : a challenge for active inclusion

   1. DIGNITY  is  HUMAN RIGHT   and   when this right is not respected what kind of consequences for MENTAL HEALTH ?

The poverty is not a fatalistic social phenomenon but the consequence of injustice in the redistribution of resources.

"To overcome poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is first of all an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.                                                                                                                        (Nelson Mandela)  

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate...... and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  Univ. Decl. Hum. Right )

Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity. (Art 3) In order to combat social exclusion and poverty, the Union recognises and respects the right to social and housing assistance so as to ensure a decent existence  for all those who lack sufficient.                                           (Art 31 1....2.... 3)  

Everyone has the right of access to preventive health care and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices.                          (Article 35   Charter Fundamental Right of European Union )

========================== cf. notes down page ===========================
Les vulnérables. La démocratie contre les pauvres,

 Severe Poverty as a Human Rights Violation Inhumanity or Injustice?...
    Poverty as a Form of Oppression...

 Extreme Poverty: what Justice demands today; Responsibility & Severe Poverty

    Eurobarometer survey on Poverty and Exclusion February – March 2007 

Freedom from Poverty 
as  A Human Right

Everyone has the RIGHT
a standard of living adequate  for the health
and well-being  of himself,  of  his family
Eurobarometer survey on poverty & social exclusion

Référence:  MEMO/09/480    Date:  27/10/2009
HTML:   FR    EN   
PDF:     FR    EN   
DOC:    FR    EN   

  2.  POVERTY and  MENTAL ILLNESS   -  Social distress  and  psychic suffering

POVERTY & MENTAL DISEASE, are often both at the beginning of the process of marginalisation and abandonment, which - while being reinforced reciprocally - transform in chronic situation one and other until the exclusion and rupture of social belong of people.

POVERTY & MENTAL DISEASE, become strictly intertwined in a vicious circle of marginalization leading to a total loss of social links. Loneliness, sickness, mental illness, drug abuse and/or alcoholism, may be the cause or the results of this state of alienation and exclusion from society, which in some cases may be irreversible and which could eventually lead to a complete break with society.

Involvement of all civic society : it's possible to insure a concrete progress in this fight against poverty and exclusion when all civic society will be involved shearing and participating.

European challenge: despite national differences, in both the nature and severity of the problem, the social exclusion is a structural problem in European society and for this reason must be placed – as an absolute priority – at the centre of an urgent call for awareness and deeper consideration particularly with respect to the RIGHT and ACCES to the citizen services, developing an adequate political program at European level : the building of the European Community must take place within a framework of citizenship in respect of right and solidarity.

SMES-Europa from beginning  (1992) operates at the interface, intersection of mental health and social exclusion, on the appalling neglect and abandoned homeless people living in extremely poor health & social conditions and suffering from mental health problems, in order to improve mental, physical & social well-being, and to promote inclusion, citizenship and solidarity in European Countries for people living in extreme social and health precariousness.

     Eurobarometer   Mental Health pdf - 6 MB  11 October 2010  + Country factsheets:   - English versions      - National languages versions


 3.  STIGMA and exclusion  

Combating Stigma and Social Exclusion

The eradication of stigma & discrimination, but also of stereotypes & indifference  against people and families suffering from poverty and  mental illness, is still a remote goal for our European society  and the consequences are : extreme poverty, marginalisation, abandonment and lost of social belong.
These are the 5th points of Pact for mental health proposed by Commission :

1. Prevention of Suicide and Depression

2. Mental Health in Youth and Education

3. Mental Health in Workplace Settings

4. Mental Health in Older People

5. Combating Stigma and Social Exclusion

Mental health at European level does not appear to be considered a priority on Health policy and in Romania,  the situation seems to be  critical. (cf. Green Paper on Mental Health of Commission and many doc. online concerning mental health in Romania).

Poverty and mental illness are both or as beginning or as consequences of the same process of segregation, discrimination: one reinforces and worsens the other until complete exclusion in society.
Everywhere in Europe and particularly in Romania the reforms are urgently needed  in order to protect and give dignity to the life of most vulnerable people. The European Union at the time of accession of Romania to the Union placed at its disposal meaningful resources to guarantee the right of the patients to receive treatment as much as possible within the local community.

 4.  WHY  on  BUCHAREST  ?

In reason of European challenge : In 2000 in Lisbon, Europe would to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and social exclusion. BUT until today 2010, the poverty has not been significantly reduced, and the gap - consequence of unjust redistribution of resources - between  rich & poor people,  continues to increase.

In 2010 the Commission and the Parliament decided to make of 2010 the European Year of fight against poverty and social exclusion, so having “a radical impact on the eradication of poverty, proposing ”Active Inclusion’ , based on three inseparable and complementary pillars:

       1. sufficient minimum income,

       2. inclusive labour markets,

       3. access to quality services.

4th pilar (?):  PARTICIPATION : we are thinking that the participation is a very fondamental pillar of personal & active inclusion. The other 3 are in register of assistence and answer to the needs !

Participation is in a strict relationship with empowerment and citizenship.
For this reason the two key words are :
sharing (ressourcees, aginst poverty) and  participating .

Even with the worsening financial and economic crisis, this situation is rapidly deteriorating:


  • 79/80 million people in Europe live in poverty and more and more are at risk of social exclusion. In Romania “absolute” poverty is widespread and many people are affected by material deprivation and social marginalisation which is intolerable . (cf. Eurobarometer, Ethnobarometer).

    The poverty more than question of statistic and numbers is the question of persons.

  • Poverty in Europa : 17% of the European population are poor. The rate goes from 11% to the Netherlands to Bulgaria and Romania respectively 21 and 23% the poor,  23% in Romania

  • Poverty in Romania 23% : The highest rates are to be raised in Europe of the east,  But several large countries of Europe, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain or Greece hardly make better, with a rate of poverty of +/- 20%..


Everywhere in Europe and particularly in Romania the reforms in Mental Health systhem are urgently in order to protect and dignify the life of most vulnerable people.

The European Union at the time of the accession of Romania to EU, placed at the disposal important resources to improve the mental health services by guaranteeing the rights of the people to receive a treatment and care adapted in their state, as much as possible with the centre of the community in which they live. 

BUT what is the situation today ?


AIM is not to compassionate the poor peoples and making the charity but on one side to recall the  fundamental Right of all to live the life in dignity and the other the duty and responsibility of all civic society of redistribution  of resources with justice and solidarity.

With this conference SMES-Europa continues the finality of:

•  Reaffirming personal dignity and human rights The outrageous scenes of people, abandoned on the street, frequently with severly mental health problems are urgent appeals to enforce the respect of basic human rights of this vulnerable people.

•  Preferring innovative and alternative projects The scale of the problem and the ineffectiveness of mere public & private "assistance” in the long run call for medium/long term innovative and alternative projects. Individuals must be seen as people having rights, needs and living in a context where the social/health private and public sectors interact.

•  Promoting urgent prevention measures Unless there is prompt intervention into the causes from which the process originates, the present crisis in the welfare system will inevitably deepen, with disastrous consequences for the young and all those in greatest need.


THEME & TOPICS : SHARING : redistribution of resources for dignity & well-being of all people 
                                 PARTICIPATING :
active inclusion against every segregation & discrimination

"Sharing & participating is a challenge for active inclusion, promoting  Dignity and Health, increasing access to health & social services for the most deprived people.

The participants will focus reflections - experiences - evaluations and will present priorities and proposal, in order to humanise this struggle against poverty & disease, in these three topics: 

  1) Deinstitutionalization and mental health in the city: from cure in an Institution to care in the
      Community . This is first of all is humanistic question, requiring new creativity in daily practices.

  2) Outreach – going out to meet where they are - aptitude before than method and practice,
       preventing chronicity

  3) Empowerment - capacitating and participation with respect for difference.

NB.: your suggestion are very important in order to better specify the theme & topics of the conference

TOPICS & Workshops : The proposed basic theme   "sharing & participating for active inclusion...", will be analyse in the course  of three  pathways that will prepare the topics of workshops.

NOTES   cf. links

 Hélène Thomas Les vulnérables. La démocratie contre les pauvres, Bellecombe en Bauges, éditions du Croquant, 2010
                                                The Vulnerable. Democracies against the Poor, Bellecombe-en-Bauges, éditions du Croquant,
                                                 Collection « TERRA », 2010, 256 p: http://www.reseau-terra.eu/article933.html Cf. Hélène Thomas,
                                                 "Vulnerability, frailty, resilience, aso. About the uses and the translation of woolly notions in Social
                                                 sciences and medicine", January 2008:  http://www.reseau-terra.eu/article697.html,  .

   cf.  Thoma Pogge     Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right: Who Owes What to the Very Poor?
                                    http://www.ethnobarometer.org/:     cf. 
  Rumenian Immigration to Italy   

Contact : 0032.2.5385887     smeseu@smes-europa.org