Project reference 2020-1-FR01-KA202-080436
Start (dd-mm-yyyy) 01-09-2020
End (dd-mm-yyyy) 31-08-2023
Project total duration 36 months
EU total grant 353961 EUR
Programme Erasmus+
National Agency of the Applicant Organisation FR01 Agence Erasmus+ France / Education et Formation
Key action Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training
  • · Inclusion
  • · Equity International cooperation
  • · International relations
  • · Development cooperation Disabilities
  • · Special needs
According to the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (WHO, 2013) and the European Commission's Green Paper of 2005, self-determination and empowerment of people with mental disorders are fundamental concepts in mental health development to improve social inclusion. They act as a catalyst on their ability to make decisions about their own lives, including the care they receive, to remobilize, to take responsibility for their choices, and to become full-fledged citizens, regardless of their illness. Although there is currently little research on the impact of self-determination as a factor of social inclusion, research shows that increasing this capacity has a positive influence on people's sense of well-being in all areas of life (Deci and Ryan, 2016).

The "Empow'Them" project is in line with the actions advocated by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2008) because it aims to contribute to the respect and dignity of mental health users through professional practices that support their individual freedom. More concretely, its objective is to promote the emergence of self-determined behaviour in users by improving the support skills of professionals active in the mental health field (carers, educators, support staff, etc.) and thus facilitate the expression of the will of people with mental disorders within institutions.

In effect, certain institutional habits can hinder the process of self-determination. What can be done then to better support the users towards more assumed, more self-determined behaviours? What are good professional practices? How can we guarantee a coherent and concerted implementation of these practices within the teams? Our intention is to take up this challenge and to design, through an innovative pedagogical engineering approach, training to enable professionals to efficiently respond to it. Thus, the project mobilizes 8 partners, from 6 different countries and with complementary expertise, in actions aimed at creating a specific training that will remain available in free access (Creative Commons license) on a Moodle platform for a minimum of 3 years after the end of the project.

The first step will be to draw up a guide for analysing practices in the form of a questionnaire based on a theoretical and conceptual base from the main scientific and professional databases. This questionnaire will be used to explore practices through semi-directive interviews conducted by user-professional pairs. These interviews will make it possible to identify the behaviours, actions and postures that promote the emergence of self-determined behaviours among users by combining them with elements extracted from the literature review. The results of this survey will feed into the base of the skills referential for training.

The pedagogical setup is inspired by reverse pedagogy and is at the heart of our project's innovation. Actually, we notice that an ordinary training system is insufficient to work over the long term on the competencies of interpersonal skills and posture within the teams. The challenge is to keep the questioning process alive among all professionals, especially newcomers, so that they can examine their practices and representations, without overloading the schedules with binding training in matters of staff mobilization. To get around these obstacles, the methodology we recommend aims to set up a continuous, non-disruptive training for the organization of services, free of charge and addressed to all professionals. Field staff trainers will be prepared and we will provide them with video supports and courses on digital supports with an approach inspired by reverse pedagogy. The videos focus on theoretical knowledge, such as definitions and history of self-determination, the principles of coaching, the socio-pedagogical relationship. The course material is a driver for the facilitators. It sequentially presents all the pedagogical activities. The advantage is that these are short (half-day) and progressive training courses, which take place in teams within the institution itself and are therefore anchored on the reality of the field.

“Suffering is not only defined by physical pain, or even mental pain, but by the reduction or even destruction of the ability to act, the capacity of doing, felt as an attack on the integrity of the self.” Paul Ricoeur. Oneself as Another (Soi-même comme un autre). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (1990).
The actors in the health and medico-social sectors all share the values of promoting the dignity of the person. This value imposes on all the respect of autonomy and the life choices of people with disabilities. However, this cannot be decreed and requires an environment and a state of mind adapted to its realisation, or even itself, a paradigm shift in professional practices. The real expression of choices and their realization by people with disabilities themselves, include a series of conditions of a personal, social and finally institutional and professional nature, so that they can fully implement them. However, Self-determination seems to have lost its roots of expression through the conventions of institutions. In view of the diversity of European practices, our aim is to to give back its letters of nobility to this noun through a community action endowed with an innovative pedagogical engineering.

In order to verify these findings more objectively, we developed an online exploratory questionnaire which we sent to organizations working with people in situation of psychic handicap. We postulate that awareness of self-determination issues concerns all personnel in contact with the public. target. Through this preliminary approach, our goal was to allow us to objectify the knowledge of professionals on the notion of self-determination in the field of health. The goal of this study is to provide information about the mental health system and the possible actions of these same professionals to promote self-determined behaviours. The questions also asked about satisfaction with what they had learned. is done in their institution to promote self-determined behaviors; on their beliefs and representations about people's capacity and potential accompanied to have self-determined behaviors; and finally, on the gap between these capacities and this potential.

The survey gathered 125 responses from the 6 countries concerned by our project, where associative partners involved in the support of individuals have answered. The results detailed in Appendix 2, whose analysis benefited from the input of scientific analytical tools, show that professionals working with mental health consumers have a theoretical understanding of the concept of self-determination. However, mental health consumers believe that the concept of self-determination is supported at an ideological level and that the concept of self-determination The methodology of accompaniment is still overwhelmingly focused on the decision-making power of institutions and professionals in terms of decision-making.

Also, these initial results indicate a need for pragmatism and concrete tools to support the application of the self-determination approach in practice. in daily life and the need for increased competence of professionals and organizations in charge of people with psychiatric disorders.
The objectives of this project, through an innovative pedagogical approach, are to:

  • · Equip professional teams with a process of questioning their practices in terms of self-determination;
  • · Identify professional skills to promote self-determination of users;
  • · Improving the skills of professionals to promote user self-determination.
In terms of needs, at a time when there is a desire to intensify cross-border cooperation, a desire to apply the principles of the Treaty, including the free circulation of goods and services and the principle of social inclusion of people with disabilities, the challenge of sharing the practices of professionals and users of mental health is in order.

Exchanges on intervention strategies aimed at mental health promotion, prevention and recovery is one of the recommended actions in the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (WHO, 2013). Several international and/or European initiatives support our positioning: the Alma-Ata declaration on primary health care states that "every human being has the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of primary health care. health that are intended for him".

The recent Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (WHO, 2013) and the European Commission's 2005 Green Paper also recommend functional processes adapted to new mental pathologies. The "WHO-European Commission Mental Health Empowerment Programme", which aims to support the WHO EU Member States in promoting a society in which people with mental health problems have the opportunity to develop and express their potential on an equal footing with any other citizen.
The aim of the project is to improve the expression of the self-determined behaviors of the users by improving the accompaniment skills of the professionals of the medical follow-up and the social accompaniment in order to reduce the situations of ruptures of course and to facilitate the expression within the establishments of the will of the persons having psychic disorders, from the diagnosis to the accompaniment.
With regard to the objectives (OS1) the expected achievements (R1 to R4) are:

  • · (O1) The practice analysis guide;
    With a view to developing a training reference system, this step is essential in order to define the scientific evidence that will lead to the production of an approach of investigation. This will be implemented, after a methodological training approach, by a user-professional pair, which is an initiative, if not innovative, at least voluntarist and in line with the foundations of our self-determination project. The results will be exploited to advance in the sense of the training referential. and a scientific paper will be produced at the end of this phase. This realization will involve 4 different pilots (Switzerland , Belgium , France ( Espoir 54), Romania ) but all the partners will have to work.

  • · (O2) The skills and training repository relating to support for the self-determination of mental health consumers;
    On the basis of the results of the interviews conducted in each country, a group of professional experts (to be joined by users from the countries concerned by the groups of work) will set the floor to arbitrate the choice of skills and abilities, in terms of knowledge / know-how / interpersonal skills that must be invested by those accompanying the users. For these stages, it is essentially 2 pilots who will be at the maneuver (Switzerland and France ( Association Francophone d'Education Comparée)) but all the protagonists will have to bring its stone to the building.

  • · (O3) The innovative training tool and (O4) The animation driver for "field animators";
    Based on these expected results, the previous product repository will allow the implementation of an important technical production step (mainly assumed by Kariateam who will be responsible for the pilot with the opinions of the other partners) which will be the subject of several round trips between the partners. A test phase is also planned before the training process. national trainers. It will be followed by the adaptation of the tools to the different national languages, before intra-national training sessions that will make each partner autonomous in the perspective of the deployment of this approach. An evaluation of the trainings and their impact is planned and piloted by France ( Association Francophone d'Education Comparée).
Results for this project are not yet available. They might become available after the project's end date.
They will be in Outputs section once available.

By its transnational character and this systemic dynamic, this project will have a lasting impact in terms of future physical and virtual mobility but also in terms of is about sustained inter-institutional cooperation.
The project:

  • · is innovative on an axis related to a theme of professional intervention little explored in the field of mental health;

  • · is innovative in its multidisciplinary approach; it is essential to be able to cross the views of actors with specialized skills, in favor of this theme at the crossroads the field of health, social, team organization, research and training;

  • · is necessary in order to strengthen the cooperation between university research institutions and psycho-social structures specialized in mental health in Europe (in a Public Health approach, the question of the evolution of practices is widely studied, but it mainly concerns the health professions, whereas the context of the public health sector is a major concern. Psychiatric reform requires ambulatory, socio-educational follow-up outside the hospital, and also calls for peer support and a significant involvement of users and their families;

  • · contributes to a genuine enrichment in the future operation of our establishments by following the WHO's approach (2001 report) on strengthening the mental health policy. (The report sets out ten recommendations, including: respect for human rights, combating stigmatization of individuals and the need to of an alliance between health and social professionals and representatives of users and their families);

  • · is complementary with WHO programs and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as this project is part of an set of citizen mental health processes.

For more detailed informations about partners, please visit Coordinator & Partners page.
For more detailed informations about partners' contacts, please visit Contacts page.
Budget items Grant (EUR)
Project management and implementation 81.000,00
Transnational project meetings 29.265,00
Intellectual outputs 187.698,00
Multiplier events 30.000,00
Learning, teaching, training activities 9.448,00
Exceptional costs 16.550,00
Total grant 353.961,00
ID Activity type Starting period (mm-yyyy) Description
1 Intellectual output 09-2020 Practice Analysis Guide
2 Transnational projects meeting 10-2020 Project start-up steering committee
3 Short-term joint staff training events 12-2020 Applied training - Structuring and applying maintenance methodologies semi-directive in a professional environment
4 Intellectual output 12-2020 Skills and training repositories
5 Intellectual output 12-2020 Training tools
6 Intellectual output 01-2021 Animation driver for "field animators".
7 Transnational projects meeting 03-2021 Validation report and analysis 1st focus group
8 Transnational projects meeting 06-2021 Analysis 2nd focus group and synthesis of intermediate works
9 Transnational projects meeting 10-2021 Validation of the pedagogical system before test
10 Transnational projects meeting 04-2022 Validation of training modalities and disseminations
11 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
12 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
13 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
14 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
15 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
16 Multiplier event 05-2022 Seminar "Mental Health Network: fostering self-determination of the users - from theory to practice"
17 Transnational projects meeting 02-2023 National training point - Impact study and Preparation for dissemination final
18 Transnational projects meeting 06-2023 Final Project Evaluation - Final and administrative report
19 Multiplier event 06-2023 European Colloquium - Basically who decides? Citizen Empowerment in Mental Health: from the think tank to operational perspectives
Sections News and Events will be updated regularly, depending on project's progress.

For further information on the project, please check Project description section.