F.O.K.U.S. / Initiative zur sozialen Rehabilitation e.V.

The Initiative zur sozialen Rehabilitation e.V. (Initiative…e.V) is a NGO and aims to improve the social participation of people with impairments. At this time the Initiative…e.V. employs over 120 persons. The organisation is active in the field of non-residential services with people who are disadvantaged because of addiction, psychiatric problems, drug dependency, and learning disabilities and with young people in special social difficulties. We have over 30 years of experience with the resource-oriented support of disadvantaged groups, with the elimination of participation obstacles, the promotion of inclusion and equal chances.

The Initiative…e.V. has been founded in connection with the dissolution of the long-term psychiatry. We aim to realise self-determination, participation, inclusion and equal opportunities in care services and in the end a largely independent life. The focus of its work is the development of innovative services and concepts that lead to more user orientation and reduce obstacles to inclusion.

F.O.K.U.S. is the educational and consulting department of the Initiative…e.V. and has twenty years of experience with educational services in community oriented psychiatric care and user involvement. The main focus of our qualification programmes, training courses, supervision and organisational consulting lies on:

  • the demand for services and processes that avoid or reduce residential and in-patient care.
  • the participation of users in the planning, organisation and implementation of assistance
  • community orientation and networking

In the context of an EU-project (Leonardo da Vinci) 2005-2007 the EX-IN course was developed. In this training programme people with mental health problems are being qualified as peer-support workers. After they are qualified these peer-support workers work in psychiatric services as well as in the counselling and educational field. By now there are 25 locations in Germany where courses are offered, and further offers in Poland, Bulgaria, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium.

„Missing“ Link, also an EU Project from 2007, extended the participation of “experts through experience” in other service areas (poverty and migration). “The concept of the methodology experts by experience (EE’s) in social exclusion originated as a response to the missing link between on the one hand the policy makers or the aid providers of all services with which the excluded persons are confronted, and on the other hand the excluded persons themselves. This missing link is partly responsible for the fact that exclusion persists.“ In 2007 the trainer course “Train the trainer” for the EX-IN-course was designed. In this course tandems of professionals (experts by study) and experts through experience are built and taught to conduct the EX-IN-courses.

Besides EX-IN F.O.K.U.S. has coordinated the Leonardo da Vinci Pilot-Project WAP (2001 – 2004) as well. F.O.K.U.S. was also co-coordinator of the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation Projects Missing Link (labour market policy measures to integrate experts by experience in social and medical services), (2009-2011) and of the LdV-Project Pilot projects Motrasup, a modular course for people who are socially excluded with partners from Bulgaria, Greece and Germany (2004-2006).

Furthermore F.O.K.U.S. has been partner in the EU projects „Insport“ and „Insport+“ which address the subject of sport and inclusion, as well as „foolish learning“, a project in the field of culture and anti-stigma work and „without borders“.

The project WAP (further education outpatient psychiatric nursing) and EX-IN have been acclaimed as especially successful. The project Missing Link has won the Belgian prize for innovation as well as the prize for best practice.

The quality management system used by the Initiative…e.V. is derived from ISO 9001/2008. The training department F.O.K.U.S. has been certified as an educational facility complying with AZAV standards since 2013. The EX-IN course too has been certified to AZAV standards since 2013.

F.O.K.U.S. conducts courses on the subjects of user participation, inclusion and community-oriented services throughout Germany, as well as in Poland, Bulgaria, England, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. By now people with lived through experience are deployed as teachers in almost all services offered.

A further field of action of the Initiative…e.V. is the IRRTURM. The newspaper initiative strengthens excluded people with experience of psychiatry in their resources and their personal self-expression. Artistically, literary, personal and political articles encourage an analysis and confrontation with the own living situation and an improvement the social participation and inclusion. Through the yearly compilation and publication of a book and many readings the IRRTURM contributes to the reduction of prejudices against people who are mentally ill as well as offering a possibility for a meaningful occupation.

Concurrently the Initiative… e.V. works since 2012 in Bremen social environment oriented with its inclusion project “Türen öffnen” (opening doors). In cooperation with many cooperation and network partners out of the fields of sport, culture, education, mobility and social issues and with people with impairments and psychosocial health problems and their neighbours, doors are opened in order to create services for people with and without impairments and reduce prejudice. Through this and other projects inclusive services and networks are established and extended. The resulting counselling services for organisations that would like to work social environment oriented are being conducted by F.O.K.U.S.

Company staffs are being schooled in the subjects of inclusion and mental illnesses and work opportunities created for people with impairments.

The Initiative…e.V. is represented in miscellaneous regional, national and international networks.

Some of the people with psychosocial impairments who work for F.O.K.U.S. have jobs which are subjected to social security contributions, others have jobs which are (partly) funded.

The team at F.O.K.U.S. :
Experts by study: Monika Möhlenkamp, Jörn Petersen
Experts by experience: Bärbel Timmler-Backes, Ingrid Hollman (till 30th April 2018)

For more information please visit the F.O.K.U.S. website