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17IS PLENARY PRESENTATION CREATING COMMUNITY: CHANGING THE WORLD OF MENTAL HEALTH Ewa Orlowski Bergseng and Einar Belck- Olsen, Fontenehuset i Oslo, Norway The importance of community My name is Ewa Orlowski
17IS PLENARY PRESENTATION CREATING COMMUNITY: CHANGING THE WORLD OF MENTAL HEALTH Ewa Orlowski Bergseng and Einar Belck- Olsen, Fontenehuset i Oslo, Norway The importance of community My name is Ewa Orlowski Bergseng and I am the Clubhouse Director at Fontenehuset i Oslo, Norway. I have participated in the establishment and development of the Clubhouse since the very beginning of Fontenehuset i Oslo has 520 members, with 211 active members and a daily attendance of 57. We have been Accredited since Five important criteria for creating a strong Clubhouse: 1. Founders with knowledge of the Model and capacity to make it happen In the year of The Norwegian Council for Mental Health (NCMH) held a hearing about the government s white Paper nr 25 Transparency and comprehensiveness, about mental disorders, and all aspects of service provided to people with mental disorders. The main conclusion was that there was a missing link, which was the lack of support for people after treatment to assist them in becoming full participants in the community. This was the reason for establishing Fontenehuset i Oslo. NMCH is a major organization, whose function is to create better mental health care and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The head of NCMH and one of its staff took the initiative to establish a Clubhouse in Oslo. They wanted to find out if a Clubhouse could be a solution to the missing link and if the Clubhouse model could work in Norway. From the very beginning, contact was established with Clubhouse International and with the Municipality of Oslo. 1 With the knowledge and relationships with The Norwegian Council of Mental Health, and Annette Höegh Goelet from Clubhouse International and her Norwegian family and their networks, a foundation was established. 2. A good and strong Board The founders established a good and strong board. The Board had legal expertise, financial literacy, and political, media management and public relations skills. Especially at the start of a Clubhouse it is extremely important that you have board members that understand the model, and are willing to use their time to support Clubhouse establishment and development. 3. A Director with knowledge of the Model and a great relationship builder After the board was established, they were ready to hire a Director. They wanted a Director who could establish a Clubhouse and build a secure and a pleasant environment in the Clubhouse, someone who could secure funding; and someone who would be able to spread the model in Norway, if the model was successful. They found a Director who believed so strongly in the model that she rather soon thought all of Norway should have access to Clubhouses. They also found a Director who was willing to do almost anything to convince politicians and the funding authorities. And that Director is me. At conferences or other places where there are leading administrators or politicians, none of them are able to leave without been told about Fontenehuset i Oslo and how the model works, and without being invited to the Clubhouse. In addition to the direct contact of networking I use the phone, and Facebook. If there is a need or a question about something, I am never afraid to make contact with politicians or other 'important' people. To me, being a Clubhouse Director is not just a job - but it is a lifestyle. 4. Strong Members When creating a community and changing the world, you need members who in addition to working hard inside the Clubhouse are willing to step forward and tell their life story. We have been so lucky to have several of them, as you will see later in my presentation. We also have members who work politically and have had an incredible influence in helping to get our politicians to understand the necessity of Clubhouses. 5. Good friends 2 We are lucky to have our Clubhouse in the capital of Norway. A small country makes it easier to network and get close to important people. We have a close relationship to The Norwegian Council of Mental Health, and our City Commissioner for Health and Social Care who supported the establishment of our Clubhouse from the very start. He later on became Chairman of the city commissioners. Our Clubhouse has been visited by the crown princess Mette Marit, the earlier Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, and many other ministers and important people in our society. What has this led to? A strong Lobby group To continue our great lobby work in a more strategic and planned way we established a lobby group in Norway has a welfare system, and therefore primarily municipalities finance Clubhouses which is why this is our primary focus. Through our board member Jon Mørland we learned about fundraising and communication strategy. Through board member Gunhild Øyangen who formerly was minister in our government and chairman of The Social Committee, we made contact with a politician in the Municipality of Oslo. His name is Trond Jensrud, and he taught us how the systems in the municipality of Oslo worked and taught us methods to influence the system. Trond is currently out of politics and sits on our board. And from then on we worked together to highlight the Clubhouse and invite in politicians and important people continually. Together with the Clubhouse in Hønefoss we established a coalition. Together, we managed to get the Health Ministry and the government to support Clubhouses in Norway, through a Strategic plan for work and mental health. Today we have eight Clubhouses in Norway. And today we have a Clubhouse coalition with two paid staff. Solid economy and a second Clubhouse in Oslo Solid economy and god relation with the Municipality of Oslo is very important. It gives us the opportunity to develop our Clubhouse. It provides security and good frames in the Clubhouse. And it has given us the opportunity to send members, employees, Director and board 3 members at training and conferences. When our Clubhouse didn t have enough space for everyone that needed a Clubhouse the Municipality of Oslo decided to support a second Clubhouse in Oslo. So today we have to freestanding Clubhouses. True to the model It is important that the founders, Director, board, staff and members have knowledge of the Clubhouse model. This provides accountability externally and is a good management tool in relation to the developments. Enough competent staff A strong budget allows us to have a sufficient number of strong staff, because we can pay competitive wages and send them to training. With a sufficient number of staff we can provide good support and help to ensure strong members. Strong members also participate to build and ensure a good Clubhouse, among other things through their contributions in the selection process of staff, training and so on. This provides stability, continuity and safe environment. It also gives us the opportunity to influence society, work against stigma and change the world. Employment possibilities A great board, good friends, members, staff and a Director, - who are all good relationship builders - have provided us with many good Transitional jobs. In particular, we want to mention our 4 Transitional Employment Placements at the Parliament. The advantage of having TEs at a large workplace is that there is a larger chance for job opportunities. Five of our members have now a permanent job at the Parliament. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV) plays a broad participatory role in the world of work and society, and contributes to the financial security of the individual. All of our members are dependent of NAV in different ways. Our Clubhouse cooperates with NAV. NAV finances three staff positions that support members back to work. Through this cooperation we are also are able to influence how NAV works towards people with mental health issues. Media attention 4 Throughout the Clubhouse's history we have had openness towards the media. We have had many members who have understood this need, and have been willing to openly fight mental health stigma. We have participated in many newspaper articles, and also at the news on TV and in some TV programs. Norway has an annual fundraising event on Television. The accumulated funds are used for different purposes. In 2004, the target was mental health and the benefactor was The Norwegian Council for Mental Health. Four of our members participated on TV in four episodes, where they shared their stories and talked about their challenges in life. This led to enormous attention for our Clubhouse and the Clubhouse model. It also led to that The Norwegian Council for Mental Health secured more of the Norwegian Clubhouses who did not get any founds from their local authorities. In this year s campaigning for the elections to parliament, one of our TV stations made a TV series called Try My Life. In the series, leaders of the major political parties lived with a person who had a major challenge in life, for four nights in their homes. Our Clubhouse was asked, and our member Geir Karlsen agreed to participate. Some of you have seen/met him when he told his story in a plenary session at the International Seminar in Florida. I promised to say Hallo from him and tell everybody that he is doing just fine. The politician who stayed at Geir s place was Jan Tore Sanner, second head of the Conservative Party which is one of the biggest Parties in Norway today. Last Wednesday he became a minister in our new government. During the four days, they of course spent several hours in our Clubhouse and Jan Tore Sanner spent some of the time as a dishwasher. One of the consequences after the TV program was that this politician wanted to show the head of NHO, our largest employers' organization, our Clubhouse and what we achieve. With her, we discussed the possibility of NHOs contributing to better inclusion in the labour market for people with mental health challenges. At The World Mental Health Day he posted this on Facebook 5 Today is the World Day of Mental Health. It affects all of us. Use the day to see the people you have around you, listen to those who want to talk. I have learned a lot in the last year of listening to the people I met at Fontenehuset i Oslo in the TV2 series Try my life. Mental health has a top priority for the new government; low threshold, a diverse support system and support to get back to work. There is health in communities and work. In the TV series, another member - Margareth Dyrhol - also participated and told story. Jan Tore Sanner keeps in touch with Geir and Margareth and he invited Margareth to attend the solemn opening of the Parliament. In 2011 we had another big event at Fontenehuset i Oslo, that also has given us a lot of publicity and Einar will tell you more about that. The celebration of our 10th anniversary back in the spring of 2010 was the first big project I was involved in as a new member at our Clubhouse. We invited friends, family and partners from near and far and held a big party. This was for me a great way to be included into the Clubhouse community and contributed to my feeling of belonging to our Clubhouse. Later that summer in the employment unit, Hans, one of our staff members, and I were discussing the party and how we felt there should have been done something to commemorate the anniversary in more lasting way: something that could memorialize this milestone for the future. It was during this conversation that I suggested writing a book. About two years later we were all gathered again to celebrate the launching of our brand new book about Fontenehuset i Oslo and the people at our Clubhouse. We held a release party at the House of Literature in Oslo with TV- celebrities, politicians and even had the Minister of Labor attending the event. The event was promoted on Norwegian TV2s breakfast show and I appeared on the 9 o clock news, two of the most watched broadcasts in Norway. If you want to know more about how we went about making our book and hear my personal experience of representing my Clubhouse in national media I ll be holding a presentation at 6 the workshop: Building bridges: Clubhouses collaborating with people and organizations to increase our effectiveness in the broader community. Conclusion To change the world of mental health you need to create community. We have done this by having: Founders with knowledge of the Model and capacity to make it happen A good and strong Board A Director with knowledge of the Model and a great relationship builder Strong Members Good friends Thank you for listening 7
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