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Topics

Topic 1:  Service-user involvement and user control.

Service-user involvement as a concept has a variety of definitions. Our focus for the conference is to share experiences of different models designed to improve services. There is an ongoing debate concerning service-user involvement, its meaning and its potential to bring about change in systems. We aim to present examples where service-user involvement, its meaning and the results are debated. Among the central projects in this topic are the "user's interview users" projects and our experiences with these projects in Norway. 

Topic 2:  A meaningful life - employment, activity and housing.

Employment for service users is a central goal for the welfare policy in Norway.  Our concern is to focus on each individual's situation for the service user. For some service users the value of a job lies in the ability to have a meaningful life and to live independently without the need to rely on welfare services.  For others, a quality life necessitates support from welfare services.  It is a basic need to have a meaningful life - a quality life?  How does Norway fulfil the constitutional right to employment?

Housing is a basic human need. As a result of the Escalation Plan for Mental Health in Norway there have been an increasing number of projects and solutions for housing. We debate the success of these models. How can we give housing solutions that combine the right to privacy as well as easy access to services and support? Can we avoid creating a new type of institution that continues to restrict and regulate living conditions such that they end up resembling the same old-fashioned "institutions?"  

Topic 3: Knowledge is power.

The Escalation Plan for Mental Health in Norway has focused on education initiative as a central part in the process of empowerment.  The government has established "centres for learning and empowerment" within the public mental health system.  We will focus on these initiatives and ask how they work.  Is our mental health system able to create educational programs that focus more on empowerment and less on symptoms and medication?  

Topic 4: Promoting Mental Health Issues

Service-user organisations actively work to improve mental health services.  Our role in the Norwegian Escalation Plan is emphasised. What can we learn from the user organisation's experiences of collaborating with public services? How can public services support the service-user groups without taking over their role? 

Topic 5: Recovery

Here we focus on the various factors that contribute to recovery from mental health problems. What are the factors contributed to recovery from severe mental health problems? Recovery research is central.  We consider also the debate over medicalisation and user-focused alternatives to involuntary interventions.  

Topic 6: International Inspiration

It is an international goal for service-user organisations to improve social standards for people with mental health problems. We highlight international trends in the mental health field and debate service-user involvement in research and training of health professionals across national borders.