Member spotlight: May 2017
Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie (Umbrella Organisation of Community-based Psychiatry) is the largest German representative organisation for providers of community-based treatment and support for people with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities. Its 220 member organisations range from self-help clubs to psychiatric clinics and social enterprises. With over 20,000 employees, the Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie provide regional outpatient and network based treatment for about 100,000 people through many different community-based psychiatric activities, such as consultation, treatment, care, rehabilitation, home treatment and integrated care. Services also focus on help to self-sufficiency, help to participate in social life, help to participate in working life, prevention, anti-stigma-education, crisis support.
Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie and its members base their work on certain values: Social inclusion of people with mental ill health, emancipation, empowerment, putting the needs and wishes of patients at the centre of all efforts. Another characteristic of the work of the organisation is the commitment to support self-help activities of users of services, their relatives as well as volunteers. For Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie and its members, mental ill health is not a medical problem only, but a social one which can only be addressed with the help of society.
The organisation was founded in 1976 in Bonn as the Umbrella Organisation of Psychosocial Help Associations in West Germany by representatives of associations during the first phase of the German psychiatry reform. Back then, the objective of the civil rights movement was to close down the large psychiatric clinics in Germany in which patients were excluded from society too often victims of compulsory treatment and to help them being included into society again. In 2003, the name of the organisation was changed to the current one, Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie since the organisation got bigger: it moved from being a civil society association to a big service providers’ organisation offering broader range of community-based services and care offers.
What are your main activities to support quality community-based services?
The main objective of Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie is to lobby for a strong outpatient, network based and inclusion oriented treatment and support for people living with mental ill health in Germany. The organisation aims to achieve this through a number of activities:
· Offering members, a strong network, to access a broad range of knowledge and involvement from qualified parties who all share a commitment toa person-centered, multi-disciplinary, community orientated and inclusive forms of mental health support.
· Exerting professional influence on decision makers at policy and administration level as well as representatives within Social Services and funding bodies.
· Exploring new developments in social psychiatry; with a large member of network members exchanging information, best practices and knowledge.
· Networking and campaigning at national and European level to help design person-centered mental health services – for example within the technical committee on integrated care and at conferences and events on community mental health care.
· Creating a forum for members and partners for sharing thoughts, positions and ideas – for example by submitting contributions to the largest community mental health journal “Psychosoziale Umschau”, holding presentations at conferences and meetings, on the website or through relevant materials and toolkits.
· Giving members a competitive edge by making ‘hot off the press’ contributions to our online members’ forum and at nationwide meetings and events.
· Encouraging and supporting the development of member organisations –through our online members’ forum, events, training and publications for internal development and strengthening the contacts’ network of colleagues .
What are the Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie’s priorities?
E-Mental-Health is an important issue for the Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie. It was discussed during a conference in Berlin in May 2017 where experts presented web-based programmes and apps that can support therapy and offer self-management to patients, which are currently offered and tested by German health insurance funds. The lectures and round table talks also addressed questions of ensuring quality of e-mental-health programmes and perspectives of transferring them into standard care, legal implications and the perspective of users of services.
Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie recently launched its Online Help Map of Community Based Psychiatry. It features a large database of services and activities of member organisations, displaying them on Google Maps and offering users access to quality offers in their region. Users can search through different categories including treatment, care or consulting services, self-help groups, projects for inclusion, work and housing. There are over 1,000 listings. Members can always modify their entries and add new ones.
Seelenleben (Inner Life in English) is a new inclusion project for young people from 16 to 27 years old. It will take the form of an awareness raising campaign with a wide variety of activities that bring together young people with and without mental health problems such as workshops at schools, creative media projects, art and sport events. The main objective is to fight stigma and exclusion by supporting the exchange of views and perspectives between participants about mental health. Thanks to the interactive website and social media channels, users can contribute to the project and get in contact with their peers.
Where can we hear from you?
Online Help Map of Community Based Psychiatry
Psychiatrienetz – the largest hub for information about psychiatry and mental health in Germany, operated by Dachverand Gemeindepsychiatrie and cooperation partners
Dachverband Gemeindepsychiatrie e.V.
Phone: (0221) 277 938 70
Fax: (0221) 277 938 77
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