In the 1980s, a significant psychiatric reform was introduced in Spain. Therefore, people with severe mental conditions leaved psychiatric institutions and returned to their homes. As Mental Health Community Care was barely developed, families became responsible for the greater part of their care. In this context, family members came together and created associations in order to improve the quality of life of people and relatives with severe mental health issues. In a later stage, these associations joined forces and established a Federation (Federació Salut Mental Catalunya/Catalonia Mental Health Federation), one of CoAct partners. They identified -in a participatory way- a common social concern of the individuals with an experience of mental health disorders and their families: the lack of evidence-based acceptance of tools, models, and protocols that put the life experience and self-perception of people with mental health disorders and their peers at the center.
Why Citizen Social Science for Mental Health Care in Barcelona?
During the last two decades, the so-called Recovery Model started to reconsider mental disorders emphasizing resilience, life satisfaction and vital project construction. The Recovery Model puts the lived experiences of individuals with mental health issues at the forefront. Mechanisms contributing to individual well-being, such as formal and informal supportive social networks and the use of self-management tools, are also central to this approach.
The World Health Organisation points to the crucial relevance of participation of persons with mental health issues and their families in the reorganization, provision, evaluation and monitoring of services so that care and treatment better respond to their needs.
How will it happen?
As CoAct, we will co-design new digital interfaces, such as a collective digital conversation with adults with an experience of mental disorders and their families living in Barcelona city and its metropolitan area. The final approach will be discussed and co-created with the citizen groups acting as coresearchers, bearing in mind a variety of methods in order to avoid potential forms of exclusion amongst the participants.
The research will be grounded in the spirit of sharing individual experiences in the form of micro-stories. Such an approach enables the collection of richer data and can therefore better respond to the need of self management within the field of mental health.