With the development and implementation of courses at the Empowerment College we aim to reach these people. People suffering from mental illnesses experience external and self-stigmatization, are discriminated, are suffering from loss of self-confidence and are often isolated in society or dependent on psychological and social support. The Empowerment College intends to strengthen these people by offering education. The project contributes to inclusion and equal opportunities. Once the Empowerment Colleges are established, courses aimed at other target groups (people with an underprivileged background, refugees and migrants, people with severe chronic diseases) could be added.
The initiative can be seen as an innovative change of perspective: Symptoms, experience with illnesses, a rupture in education… elsewhere understood as deficit and insufficiency, are, in this concept, regarded as life-experience and a resource. The educational initiative of the Empowerment College is not meant to “correct” failed life concepts and educational biographies, but aims to build on the experience made so far, strengthening self-efficacy, self-realization and the appreciation of life achievements (and thus the handling of a mental illness). The college is meant to provide competence in self-management, in handling the own illness and/or social difficulties. At the same time it aims at developing an individual, realistic and resource-oriented perspective of life and occupation.