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Urban Suffering Studies Center



Let's try together

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M.Maddalena Filippetti





The "LET'S TRY TOGETHER" project is sponsored by Milan City Council in agreement with the Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Department of Mental Health, which in turn has stipulated an agreement protocol with the Angelo Abriani Casa della Carità and the Detto Fatto Cooperative, for assistance, daily support, housing maintenance and promotion of an approved training course, to give users a greater awareness of psychological distress, as well as the expertise to become basic social workers or Technical Social Facilitators "in the logic of promotion of the empowerment process in the Molise-Calvairate territory of Milan.


The Molise-Calvairate area, a suburb in the southeast of Milan, is visibly characterized by conditions of environmental degradation, and the presence of people in conditions of extreme relational solitude and psychological distress.

Over the years, the Casa della Carità has developed a dialogue and a fruitful collaboration both with the institutions in charge and the various private, social and voluntary realities present in the area, in order to extend a network with a perspective of integration, for building common and shared experiences, for giving answers to the many problems of the people with psychological distress resident in the area.

The progressive and radical isolation of the people living and suffering in this area, brings them to the point of having to establish their own specific position in reality, causing at times, a sort of coincidence between inner disorder and housing- environmental degradation.
Many of these people live in solitude, in dilapidated houses, others live with one or both of their elderly or disabled parents, rarely with relations other than their father or mother.
Some of these people who are suffering are known and cared for by the C.P.S others are in contact with counseling centers of the parish network, a few are in contact with different agencies in the area.
Some live in loneliness and struggle to follow courses of treatment.

In the past, in this dialogue and field experience, the "Let's try together" project has reinforced the need for an accessible and flexible space-place of relationship, and a home care service and housing support in close connection with the coop. Detto Fatto, for housing maintenance, the C.P.S. of the area and other local agencies.


The "Lets try together" project, tried a flexible model of intervention in the area, starting from the histories of the people and going on to supplement the existing network of services, operating mainly in connection with the C.P.S. and the Department of Mental Health headed by the Molise-Calvairate area.

The project is intended for the mentally ill in serious distress and extreme social isolation and those users who in recent years have taken part in the activities of the center in Viale Molise and who were able to develop the capacity and resources for controlling their situation in life.
The aim is to expand an authentic network of support for people who are suffering by connecting the services dedicated to psychological distress and more generally to adults in difficulty, to dedicated support professionals both at home (visits, talks, maintenance of housing, etc.) and in the area, offering the headquarters of the project in viale Molise 5, integrated in the area, as a socializing resource and the venue for cultivating relationships.

In recent years concrete operations have been developed in the home assistance- maintenance service, with a holistic approach to the person, that have been able to deal with the interwoven health, social, housing and relational issues.

As a result of these activities the need has emerged to find flexible forms and projects, to receive, enrich and empower the person with mental disorders, in the logic of promoting empowerment of users through specific training, rehabilitation and eventual job placement..

The philosophy of the "Let's try together" project in addition to ensuring functioning and the assistance of people with serious disorders, is intended to be a practice and a vital resource that valorizes personal responsibility, participation, the role of users, citizens and operators.

"Let's try together" means believing that everyone possesses certain knowledge. For many it means having knowledge derived from experience gained through mental illness, for some from experience in the professional field. To give value to our knowledge means pursuing a different way of facing up to and overcoming the pain and suffering of everyday life, establishing the time to be devoted to sharing and participation.

The proposal to promote a course for "social Facilitators" comes from the need to reply to those users, former beneficiaries of the Center's activities and involved in a course of treatment, to make themselves useful and a suitable resource to "facilitate" other people with serious mental disorders or citizens of the neighborhood with psycho-social distress.

These users have intellectual and social resources that, thanks to the training course for "social Facilitators", will be enriched through a process of empowerment, that activates methods and tools designed for self-esteem and protagonism as a social actor.

The project "Let's try together" offers:

„Ã support of an assistance-resocializing character (from the maintenance of housing to relational and social accompaniment) for people both in charge at the C.P.S or not, or reported by other agencies in the area. The aim of this action is to give support to the most lonely, accompany them in the management of themselves and their homes, help them in daily actions, etc.;

„Ã support in shared housing, through maintenance work in the house, carried out by the social coop. Detto Fatto, integrated with the project team to facilitate an experience of self-empowerment and self-esteem as well as a more rewarding quality of life and permanence at home for the suffering person;

„Ã Social and relational support through the reintegration into a community relationships network to experiment with therapeutic-relational experiences also through activities carried out in the Molise center, the headquarters of the project;

„Ã Promotion of an approved training course, for at least 15 people, suffering from severe psychological distress but with good residual capacity and already placed in therapeutic rehabilitation courses, which require additional social support and rehabilitation. One of the objectives of the "Let's try together" project is to train users, through an approved course, to obtain the diploma of "Technical Social Facilitator" (according to models and experiences already in progress in some italian and english areas);

„Ã The trained users will join needy users or citizens (through practical training assisted by operators) depending on the reports and the needs reported by the C.P.S. of V.le Puglie, the D.S.M. of the A.O. Fatebenefratelli and the Molise- Calvairate local agencies

Training course:
How to become Social Facilitators - A new perspective of peer support October 2011-December 2013

In October 2011 the "Let's try together" project sets up the Training Course for Social Facilitators after several meetings with the C.P.S of the DSM to share the proposal and to identify candidates. In parallel, the adhesion to the "Let's try together" project is requested of some the users, who welcome the course with enthusiasm,.
The 15 students in the course (4 women and 11 men), attend classes with dedication to learn how to become Facilitators of support relationships.
The training project designed for users of Mental Health, suggests the feasibility of an unusual idea, namely that it is possible to achieve an exchange of equal skills among Mental Health workers, educators and patients. In other words, in carrying out this experience, it was believed in concrete terms, that patients in the course of their experience of illness, accumulated an expertise, that is specular to the professionals who followed them, and that they can be encouraged to bring it to a level of awareness within an educational context.
Obviously drug therapy provides relief from symptoms, the paths of psychotherapy or analysis can untie knots deep down in a patient and open up alternative visions on how to fill one's life, improving on it. In addition the training course asks the patient-students, to dedicate themelves to discovering and developing more effective ways of thinking and relationship, to transform them into a real occupation. This formative experience suggests that the patient looks ahead towards a new concrete operational dimension. This step is the most delicate and difficult stage of any process of rehabilitation in the psychiatric field.
The other dimension charaterizing this type of training was the construction of the group. The Facilitator's activities start from a community of people who share experiences and mutual support, comparing episodes of success and failure inherent in every relationship of assistance.
The training course represents an opportunity for patient-students to initiate a mutual promise to be friendly and caring to each other, a secure base from which to start off with renewed energy and to return to, so as not to feel alone on this difficult path.

Starting from these assumptions, the training project was developed in three working areas that were divided into seven training modules:
• Theoretical and practical content: theoretical knowledge of psychiatric pathology, pharmacology and practice of social facilitation;
• Transversal competencies: development of emotional and socio-relational skills and learning to manage ones own emotions in support relationships;
• Accompanying and support: a direct subjective experience of facilitation, in the relationship with tutors, in the self-help group, in orientation courses and the individual interview.

Classroom hours (210) are provided for teaching subjects related to the area of psychiatric pathology, the psychological aspects that accompany it, pharmacological cures, instruments for psycho-social rehabilitation and communication techniques that facilitate aid relationship. During this period, in a specific module, students learn how to use a computer, basic usage, how to surf the internet, to open a mail box and use network communication and to discover the main sites of psychiatric interest.
During classroom hours the testimony of experts in the field, or other Facilitators (the reality of Saronno) already included in the facilitation work were also introduced: students have had the opportunity of practicing the most effective approach to patients, in a concrete way, from the experience of those who already practice this activity. As a result of these meetings the patient-students of the course have joined the Rete Utenti Lombarda (RUL) that meets monthly in various locations in Lombardy, Saronno, Como, Legnano, etc.. to establish an Association of Users and continue the professional recognition of the figure of Social Facilitator at a Regional level.
Soon user-students will be beginning a planned apprenticeship (90 hours) with some Associations for Mental Health, and later with care facilities of the DSM.
Students of the course are committed to the hard work of learning and I would like to end with a phrase, "We can improve," the initial statement of the European Community in the presentation document on the direction of strategies of Mental health in 2005.


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Center for urban suffering

The study centre wishes to study the phenomenon of urban suffering, in other words the suffering that is specific to the great metropolises. Urban Suffering is a category that describes the meeting of individual suffering with the social fabric that they inhabit. The description, the understanding and the transformation of the psychological and social dynamics that develop from the meeting of ...

Who we are

The Urban Suffering Studies Center - SOUQ - arises from Milan, a place of complexity and economic and social contradictions belonged to global world.Tightly linked to Casa della Carità Foundation, which provides assistance and care to unserved populations in Milan (such as immigrants legal and illegal, homeless, vulnerable minorities), the Urban Suffering Studies Center puts attention on ...


Centro studi Souq Management commitee: Laura Arduini, Virginio Colmegna (presidente), Silvia Landra, Simona Sambati, Benedetto Saraceno ; Scientific commitee: Mario Agostinelli, Angelo Barbato, Maurizio Bonati, Adolfo Ceretti, Giacomo Costa, Ota de Leonardis,  Giulio Ernesti, Sergio Escobar, Luca Formenton, Francesco Maisto, Ambrogio Manenti, Claudia Mazzucato, Daniela ...
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ISSN 2282-5754 Souquaderni [online] by SOUQ - Centro Studi sulla Sofferenza Urbana - CF: 97316770151
Last update: 26/11/2020

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