It is easy to read, you don’t need to be an expert in the field of disabilities rights and in psychosocial support. You won’t become a specialist either by reading it. Nevertheless, if you are a professional or a volunteer with links and relations to people with disabilities, the handbook, “Different. Just like you. A psychosocial approach promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities” can make a difference in your work, clear some doubts, and open your eyes on issues you may have taken for granted.
Launched at the European Parliament this week, the handbook is aimed at professionals and volunteers who engage with persons with disabilities in their work. This includes school teachers, social workers, pedagogues, sheltered workshop instructors, health workers, coaches or volunteers in organizations, sport clubs and recreational facilities.
Assembled and written by the teamwork of four organizations, JUUL, Light for the World, ICSSPE and the Psychosocial Centre, the handbook has two main aims: Creating awareness of the importance of psychosocial support and inclusion in promoting the well-being of persons with disabilities and providing a guidance about psychosocial support and inclusion, along with practical resources for inclusive psychosocial for all kinds of setting.
People's access to services and opportunities is the key to social inclusion. We have here four different organizations, specialists who came together to learn from each other and to share their experiences. And the result ? This excellent handbook. The most important approach is that people with disabilities are recognized for both their vulnerable and resourceful sides.
The book also describes best practices in psychosocial support and inclusion, and features a wide range of activities that give persons with disabilities the opportunity to release their full potential and engage actively in society. Real –life stories and examples of programmes in the field are included, so share knowledge and learning.
«People and organizations working in this field tend to work in a certain silos. We need to break the working - alone dynamics and work together to make a joint agenda» said Johannes Trimmel, Board Member of IDDC (International Disability and Development Consortium) in his speech at the book presentation. He also added that psychosocial well being is still an underrated topic. «Not many people talk about it, it does not make the headlines, it is not considered essential for people lives».
Mr. Trimmel also pointed out that «any action and any interaction we establish has an impact on the well- being of the other person. Many people are not keen on interacting with others cause they are unsure of the consequences. Since they don’t know what the outcome will be, they think it is better not to engage».
Talking about the lessons learnt while writing this book, Mr. Trimmel shared 4 concepts: the psychosocial world and the disability world are not so far from each other as we might thing; We need to be gender specifics, therefore we need different approaches for men and women either when we talk about disability rights or psychosocial well being; Psychosocial well -being is facing some danger caused the wrong policies or the wrong implementation of them. Then» he concluded «decisions are often taken on behalf of persons with disabilities and not by themselves. How many times people with disabilities are told the “this is good for you, we know what’s better for you" line without respecting the principles of the psychosocial well – being? Any of us has his own history and each of us has the right to a physical, mental and social well-being».
You can download the book in different languages here
Psychosocial support is defined as a process that facilitates resilience within individuals, families and communities. By respecting the independence dignity and coping mechanisms of individuals and communities, psychosocial support helps to restore social cohesion and infrastructure.
Psychosocial well-being: it describes the positive state of being an individual thrives and is positively influenced by the interplay of psychological and social factors. Professional and volunteers promote the psychosocial well-being of persons with disabilities, when they take full account of the social, biological and psychological factors influencing the lives of those they are supporting.