5th MHSE European Seminar
Copenhagen 5th to 8th of May 1999.
The 5th European Conference titled "Mental Health - Social
Exclusion" was held in Copenhagen 5th to 8th of May 1999.
A conference report, taking the theme "Dialogue" as point of departure in a discussion of the situation for excluded/homeless people has been published and can be obtained from email@example.com.
The most important task is not to cure or normalise the excluded and homeless, but to establish possibilities that enables themselves, with help from the near surroundings, to create a life in dignity and health
This is not done by blueprint social policies alone. These should be supported by free, local and preferably user-involved activities, as it by example is done Denmark with support from governmental funds for extraordinary purposes
Exclusion and homelessness is seen in all European cities and is most often linked to serious health problems
Everywhere programmes is initiated. But the courage to go beyond the frontiers and barriers between various administrative units, between various professional backgrounds and between the homeless and the professionals,- is missing
Homeless people participated in the conference and as expected, they established contacts and made agreements on future cooperation with professionals
Particular groups among the heavily excluded, such as refugees, ethnic minorities and women, lacks specific offers that they could benefit from
Based on that, the conference came out with the following recommendations
In relation to these socially very vulnerable people, initiatives that breaks down the traditional disconnection between the involved administrative units and among people with different professional backgrounds, must be taken
A greater extend of interdisciplinary cooperation must be established in the work that focuses on the fundamental causes of homelessness: Housing-, family-, labour market-, health- and social services must cooperate
Volunteers, non governmental organisations and public institutions must explore ways of cooperation and making use of one another's dissimilarity
Communities must be empowered to create possibilities for the excluded to participate in the civil society
The excluded and homeless people must be empowered to exert influence on their own life
Both they and we must have better access to knowledge and information e.g. through communication at the internet
The rights of the excluded, both morally and juridically, to live a life in health - on their own conditions - must be strengthened