A spiritual counselor who goes out to the neighborhood every day and talks to “different” people. This is a unique pilot project that has been underway at Ghent’s Water Sports Burn for a year and a half. It was successful because the formula is now being expanded to five other cities. VRT NWS set out on a journey with supervisor Véronique, and as a result, had a special encounter.
Véronique Norga is a mental health care (GGZ) psychiatric counselor. For over a year and a half, she has been the driving force behind the “Quartier Maken” project around Ghent’s Water Sports Barn.
She goes out every day to start a conversation with the locals to plan for psychological vulnerabilities. “So we can seek follow-up, intervention, or help faster and better.”
She begins her day with a home visit to Andre. He was once a physiotherapist. Due to many mental illnesses, he had to quit his job. “I have been hospitalized five times, which is a traumatic experience.”
Mental health professionals work in the neighborhood. This allows them to recognize and monitor psychological vulnerabilities very early on.
Quartering is a military term. This means that the scout is trying to find a safe place for the soldiers.
Based on the Doortje Kal concept, a quarter as an approach to psychiatric care in the neighborhood began in the Netherlands.
Veronique takes care of the “her” people in the neighborhood
Everything looks great and calm. An architecturally beautiful sociable skyscraper surrounded by villas, water and greenery. However, these blocks are mainly populated by people with psychological vulnerabilities. And often there are other problems: misery never comes alone.
Veronique’s small office is located in one of the 13-block apartments in the neighborhood.
Sometimes at the homes of people who don’t come
“It’s about opening up the living environment in your neighborhood to” different “people. In an ideal world, everyone contributes to this, “says psychologist Peter D-Link. “Even if things have changed a little, leaving people alone often slows recovery. That’s the idea. Even if you stay” different, “you’re not a psychiatric patient, but a citizen again. “”
One of Veronique’s missions is to visit someone at home because someone has noticed something. Sometimes it’s a quarrel between neighbors, and sometimes it’s intense loneliness. Emotions that make people more psychologically vulnerable.
Recover, not heal
The project is currently expanding. Five other cities: Earl Scourt, Depanne, Maasmechelen, Boom, Dahn.
Quartering is probably the most complex form of “socialization of care” to date. Ten years ago, the government launched a major reform of psychiatry. Outside the walls of the psychiatric facility, more mental health care had to go out.
People with psychological problems often feel lonely, misunderstood, and anxious. “They need trust and proximity,” explains Inez Germeys, a professor of psychiatry at KULeuven. “People often ask if you can then heal, but how can you heal from experience? You need to talk about recovery, not healing here. “
Since the reform, there has been a GGZ paramedic for mental health care. You can call them in case of a crisis or for follow-up. However, the employees of GGZ, a psychiatric expert working in a residential area, were not yet with us. “That was the missing part of the puzzle,” says Dierinck.
The most important thing is that we connect people
Recovery movement: international trends
Take Italy, for example. Named after the city, the Trieste model provides a psychiatrist accessible to all residents to all nearby mental health centers. The focus is on the dignity of the patient and the ability to function again in society. The World Health Organization has declared this community-based model one of the most advanced healthcare models in the world.
I think psychiatric hospitals are rare if you can set up a really safe place.
The next step is that psychiatrists can also work in the district. “If he could sometimes go out with me in the neighborhood and get a quick quote, we would take a few more steps,” says Véronique.
A recent study of the quartermaking project by Ghent University showed that support was faster, more effective, and more customized. The fact that knowledgeable and networked people work in the local mental health care department lowers the taboos surrounding psychological vulnerabilities, promotes an effective, neighborhood atmosphere, and moves from society to psychiatry. Fill the gap.
Initiator Peter Dierinck is happy with this. And I was convinced of this problem. “I think that if we can really set up these safe places, and if we can really change the way we think about mental weakness, mental hospitals can be potentially rare.”