A TRAINING PROGRAM The Organization Adults for Children , financially supported by The National Health Bureau in Norway has developed a training program under the following headline: ”Children need and multidisciplinary collaboration;---- when mother or father becomes mentally ill”. The program started out as a project in 1996. During 1996 we brought in experience that knowledge among professionals in the field of preventive child care was insufficient when it comes to children’s needs when their parents are mentally ill. We also experienced that often collaboration among professional related to children’s need when their parents become mentally ill by no means can be said to be optimal.
The Organization Adults for Children developed the program in cooperation with nationally recognized professionals in the field of preventive mental health care. During the autumn of 1998, the training program ha been offered to communities in different regions of Norway. The feedback was tremendous.
WHAT IS A PROGRAM; STRUCTURE AND METHOD Each program is methodologically divided into two parts. One part is built up as lectures; the other part is what could be called a space for multidisciplinary discussion and training. Here the participant meet other professions in a forum for supervision, discussion and maybe problem - solving. One program last for 10 months. The participants have to read about 1000 pages from publications which are meant to illuminate the issues in the lectures. The themes are as following: - parents suffering from mental disease – consequences to their children, - how to communicate with children, - family and Network, - multi-professional collaboration – juridical presuppositions, - child development and their psychological needs, - cerises and abuse, - preventive interventions, This part of the program is estimated to amount to 40 hour. Epistemologically it has been important not to isolate the lectures from the participant’s daily performance of their profession. Therefore we had to create the forum for discussion and supervision. A forum contains 6 – 8 participants from the same community. Participants from the specialist mental health care services are distributed to the different forums. In one county there can be as many as 15 – 20 forums depending on the amount of communities. Each forum has a trained supervisor. In those forums the participants have the opportunity to bring problems from daily life situations into discussion. Maybe this multiprofessional forum can bring light to ”my” problem. The slogan her could be: no profession own a problem. The targets for this forum is structured as follows: - promoting the skills of the participants to continue collaborating after the program period,
to bring in problems, difficulties or situations they find challenging, to enlighten the lectured issues by the help of their experiences or vs., to discuss, and hopefully overcome, challenges in the field of multidisciplinary collaboration, This part of the program is estimated to amount to 40 hour. Our aim is that the multi-professional collaboration hopefully continues after they have left the program. We don’t reckon this as an ambiguous target in the light of the response we have experienced when we introduced the training program to a diversity of communities. As part of the educational program, each forum has to produce an essay. In the essay the forums are supposed to focus on how to cope with children of mentally ill after the program. The Organisation Adults for Children in cooperation with a higher secondary school, named Høgskolen I Vestfold, offer the participants the opportunity to pass an examination and, hopefully, receive a diploma.
THE RUNNING OF THE PROGRAM. In December 1998 we started up with 450 professionals from 4 counties. In September the following year they finished the program. Since 1998 we have managed to offer the program to 4 or 5 counties each year. By April 2002 the program have been carried through in 13 counties ( total amount of counties in Norway are 19). Our task is to offer the program to all the counties in Norway by the end of 2004. Over 1600 professionals both from the community mental health services, schools, kindergartens , the social welfare services and the specialist mental health care services, have participated. During September 2002 we have started up the program in 4 new counties. Approximately 500 professionals will participate. To reach that amount of participants we have spend a lot of effort on promoting the program in the 4 counties and on mobilizing potential participants. The preparations started up in the beginning of January this year. We have learned from experience that time spent in promoting and mobilizing pays off in the end when it comes to multi - professional participation. Our strategy is to invite ourselves to the county and community administers to both present the program and the schedule for how we have planned to start up the program in the county. We strengthen our efforts by employing a local coordinator. Another important objective for this coordinator is the adaptation of the program locally. By the beginning of April 2004 our educational program will have been offered to all the counties in Norway. EXPERIENCES SO FAR Approximate 1600 participants have gone through the training program so far. We have managed to recruit participant’s multi – professionally. In the begging of each program, each of the participants have to fill in a form “describing” their knowledge in connection to the themes of the program., and what they want to learn more about. Nearly 75% say they want to learn more bout communication with children. Parents suffering from mentally illness and consequences on their children are another theme with high score. At the end of the training program, when asked what theme they appreciated most, nearly all the participants answer that they appreciate the multi-disciplinary themes and the working in multi – professional
groups. We know that multi-professional community groups have been established as community teams in course of the program period. We also know that those teams are still working together as a multi-professional community team. For more information contact Jan Steneby at email@example.com