“Hidden Likes” Youth houses
The project aims at researching, developing and implementing an innovative methods of motivating and involving young people with mental health problems in the labor market.
To accomplish this, “Hidden Likes” Youth Houses will be built – space for these people to receive support, mentoring and understanding by engaging in numerous activities, individualized with their friends and families, and aiming to make them proactive at the labor market. An in-depth study will analyze the reasons for the passivity of the target group on the labor market, as well as collect information to combat social stigma among employers on the topic. The development of a multilateral approach for long-term support will close the circle and build the needed skills and confidence in the target group through their adaptation on the labor market and beyond. Through implementing the project in partner countries, we will provide a basis for building a global European solution to the problem.
By identifying the problem in Bulgaria, the project will seek a new pan-European solution to achieve sustainable employment of medium-sized target groups. A complex, integrated and multidisciplinary approach has been developed and implemented to attract and motivate target groups, to build positive expectations and to introduce the possibility for inclusion in employment.
Employment is possible
Young people with mental health problems, regardless of diagnosis or duration of their condition, can work successfully or return to education and training with appropriate support – even if they have the symptoms of illness.
It should be noted that for some young people it may be important where they would prefer to receive support. However, moving away from seeing young people living with mental illness as somehow ‘different’ from the rest of the community is key to achieving a successful transformation. Many of them can return to work without requiring long-term specialized psychological and psychiatric care, taking advantage of basic supportive career counseling instead.
Improving long-term employment through career counseling can help young NEETs to:
- Define their career goals, identify their skills and strengths
- Identify those factors that create “good work”
- Understand their employment opportunities based on market trends
- Start a career planning process as part of their job search
- Identify and access education, training and employment
- Acquire practical job search skills, CV writing skills and job interview training
- Improve communication and assertiveness skills
Career-oriented counseling can also help people know their rights, explore the pros and cons of a given job, identify additional needs, such as accommodation, and when appropriate – renegotiate with employers.
We believe that the number of young people suffering from mental health problems in need of specialized vocational rehabilitation services is limited. Helping young people for their access to support for education, training and employment is proving to be a highly effective means of returning to work and achieving successful and long-term employment.
Social and economic inclusion is enhanced through career counseling services, including for young people living with mental health problems, by supporting their right to access publicly funded programs. Some of these young people may need, want or prefer access to specialized professional mental health services. In such cases, career counselors can help by establishing partnerships with specialized centers and institutions for professional help in the field of mental health and develop skills to effectively refer their clients to them.