Solidarity projects in relation to mental health
AFARAM (Associação de Familiares e Amigos do Doente Mental da Região Autónoma da Madeira / Family and Friends of the Mentally Ill Association of the Autonomous Region of Madeira) is a non-profit private institution dedicated to solidarity projects in relation to mental health. Created in 2001, in 2002 gained the status of private institution of social solidarity and began activity in 2004 in Funchal, Madeira. By taking the patients away from the hospitals and provide them with support from the community, the aim is to develop new care options and social support for the ones in need. The main objective is to socially rehabilitate users, within a psychosocial methodology.
Oficinas D’Animação are a group of varied educational-recreational activities that aim to develop personal and social competences for users in their spare times. In a fun, creative and dynamic way, it tries to create new and different experiences that result (in short, medium, or long term) in assets for the target group. It engages with several types of activities, based in performative and recreational expression as well as with the surrounding community, addressing personal and social development that follows a strategy of intervention as a vehicle of animation and animating by also relying on informal education of Sociocultural Animation.
The day-to-day activities run daily from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2pm to 6pm, with exception of Saturdays and Sundays. They include a range of activities/projects of intervention that engage in psychosocial rehabilitation of people with any type of mental disability or illness.
The activities are based on creative arts and crafts, like sculpture, collage and printing using recycled materials, clay, plaster, plasticine, wood, upcycling, among others. For the resident users, the proposed activities are the ones already described here plus training activities for daily life that envision the integration of the user within the surrounding community.
AFARAM owns a space named “ARMAZEMVINTAGE” (“VINTAGESTORAGE”) where all users’ art resulting from these activities is exhibited and put for sale, allowing for the users to also have contact with work environment – a protected working environment.
All users of AFARAM can participate in these activities, which are coordinated by an entity called Animadora Sociocultural (Sociocultural Animator). This entity plans the activities in partnership with the nursing technicians, each responsible for an intervention project.
“Art, besides the emotional side, develops cognition and activates creativity, both essential aspects for mental health. The artistic construction expands practical, critical and creative thinking and enables unimaginable possibilities, many times unrecognized by others around us. One of the key aspects of therapy through art is the acquiring of self-knowledge. Art is used today as an underlying therapeutic tool for mental health, through visual and expressive artistic elements as a practice and a resource. This includes the whole creative process, stimulating recognition of a persons’ mental health background.”
-Testament of a nursing/medical technician of AFARM.