Accommodation for those with fragile mental health
 Planay, France

 

THE CONTEXT OF YOUR INITIATIVE

In 1993, it was noted that there was a lack of structures for accommodating people excluded from society in the northern part of Côte d’Or. The Emmaus community in Norges-la-Ville (Dijon) therefore decided to open an accommodation centre in Planay in an old farmhouse.

In 1995, the Planay community welcomed a patient from the Semur-en-Auxois psychiatric hospital. Dominique is still a companion within the community. From that day on, a partnership was struck up with the hospital and Dr. Wallenhorst, head of the psychiatric unit and an alcoholism specialist. A psychiatric nurse visits the community twice a week, meaning that there is someone paying special attention to companions in case of need. This nurse provides a link between psychiatric doctors and addiction specialists in the hospital.
With the current closure of hospital units that accommodate people with fragile mental health, addition issues and limited independence, the Emmaus community in Planay is offering a solution for these people.

THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT AS PART OF YOUR INITIATIVE

The Emmaus community in Planay obviously respects the values of the Emmaus movement. Like all other communities, it welcomes those in difficulty and survives thanks to collection and sales activities, giving old objects a second lease of life.

What is special about our community is that we accommodate those with fragile mental health. Each companion is asked to work within their own limitations.
Self-respect takes on a new dimension: we deal with the person as a whole, providing help with care, alcohol addiction, psychological care. Support including a psychiatric nurse, the manager and the companion means that we can “clean the shelves from the top down and do a bit of tidying up,” as we say here.

WHO IS INVOLVED FROM OUR GROUP?

Of the 30 people accommodated within the community, there are 18 companions that receive care (mental health and alcohol sickness).

5 paid employees and friends of the community are involved in our activities, there to listen and available to support fragile individuals.

WHICH PARTNERS ARE YOU WORKING WITH ON THIS INITIATIVE?

• Semur-en-Auxois psychiatric hospital
• Social structures within the sector that understand our specialism
• Other Emmaus groups who are aware of our specialism send us companions with psychological difficulties
• 115 (emergency service for homeless people)

It’s more of a specialism than an initiative?!
We have been welcoming people with fragile mental health for 22 years. It is long-term support.

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

© Harry Matenaer

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Continuing to accommodate people, as this is vital. We are aware that a large number of those have experienced life on the streets or on the move suffer from psychiatric problems. Speaking and listening as a community, considering an individual as a whole, allowing them to get back on their feet, to have a stable and calm life and to reconnect socially.

SHARE YOUR PROGRESS AND THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THIS INITIATIVE

This is a peaceful community, with no violent episodes to date. Individual support. Some of those receiving care have left the community after being with us for a stretch of time. When this departure is planned, continued care is often provided and companions can go back to ordinary life, finding a home and living independently while being supported by social workers who take over from us.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INITIATIVE?

Our specialism is well known in our region. We also seem to be well known by other Emmaus communities in France, as they refer certain individuals to us or ask for advice.

WHAT ARE YOUR PROSPECTS?

There is little turnover within the community as those with fragile mental health stay within the community. Some tell us that it is family and that they wish to stay there for the rest of their lives. The average age of the community therefore increases each year. It is currently 60.

To continue welcoming people and to continue with our solidarity activities, we need to increase our capacity for accommodation, particularly with housing adapted for elderly people. We have just acquired a house near the community in order to increase the number of places.

About

 2108

Initiative sponsors

Pierre ELIET (community leader)


Location

Planay, France

Initiatives

Struggles

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