"From the case history to the life story"

The “Open the doors” Association  realized a project “ From case history to the life story” which was a reply to a competition announced by  the Governor of Little Poland  within the sphere of welfare for the year 2008. The project was realized  from 21 August to 25 November 2008. Within the frameworks of this project three tasks were accomplished. The first of them was to organize two- day   conference-integrative trip  for members and sympathizers of the Association: the second was  to organize five training meetings  and the third was to evaluate the test results.

The trip took place in Szczawnica  between 18-19 September  2008 ; there were 12 members of the Association and two its sympathizers.  During the meeting relevant issues concerning questions important to the mentally ill , among other things, contemporary social and vocational  strategies of mentally ill people, the role and importance of  the mentally ill participation in social education , the analysis of trainings  evaluation results with the contribution of  the  final beneficiaries , strategy of conducting effective education aimed to employers , importance of social economics in social and vocational rehabilitation of the persons socially excluded and also the training of interpersonal skills were discussed.

The second task had to be realized in following days;

24.09.2008. ( Jacek N., Anna L.)
20.10.2008. ( Agnieszka M., Konrad W., Andrzej B.)
21.10.2008. 11:30. ( Jolanta J., Dorota D.-W.)
21.10.2008. 14:00. ( Dorota T., Teresa F.)
05.11.2008. ( Jolanta J., Jacek N.)


The names of persons leading educational meetings were given in parentheses . In these meetings took part as follows: 23 persons, 11 persons, 19 persons, 25 persons and 14 persons. After each of the meetings , its participants filled an evaluative  questionnaire  which determined  the beginning of the third task –  evaluation of the results.

Translated by Katarzyna Milcewicz



"Through education to acceptance"


We would like to inform You that the  „Open the doors” Association cooperates with  the Brokerage House “Penetrator” and with the Association for the Development of Psychiatry and Community Care and also with the Scientific  Section of Community Psychiatry and Rehabilitation  Branch of Polish Psychiatric  Society for Little Poland participated in the grant competition of the
Foundation – Cooperation Fund entitled: “ Spreading  of the social economics in Poland on the basis of  experiences of PIW  EQUAL”.  The motion of the Association was  positively and highly rated and qualified to realization. In the period from 8 April to 31 May 2008 within the framework of the project , trainings on social economics were conducted. The members of the “Open the doors” Association – people after mental crises – were the educators and  coordinators of the project. Moreover , two volunteers from the  Association for the Development  of Psychiatry and Community Care and a moderator of the content- related issues from the Scientific Section of Community Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Branch of Polish Psychiatric Society participated in this activity.
Educators told what is the social economics for them, about their job experience in social firms and about the value of work.
The grant was entitled “Through education to acceptance”  and was aimed to the students of Cracow Universities from social faculties. Project included following goals: spreading the idea of social enterprise, breaking stereotypes on mentally ill people working abilities, counteracting the discrimination of people who suffered mental crises, in labor market.  All things considered, 164 persons were trained and conducted evaluation proved positive results. As much as 89% of the surveyed students were satisfied with the conducted training  and admit that it met  their expectations . Interest was the dominant attitude towards training. 96% of the surveyed considered that the knowledge taken from trainings are very or fairly helpful  while 72% of the questioned confirmed that training let them understand better the problematic of social economics.
91% of the students think that training enabled them better understanding of mentally ill person.
At the same time they emphasized sincerity, authenticity and directness of the people leading the trainings  utterances. Majority of them appreciated  the value of direct contact with people after mental crises and recognized it as the most essential experience received from the meeting.


Translated by Katarzyna Milcewicz



Grant-related meeting in the Communal Home of Mutual Help at Olszańska Street in Krakow


On 15th June 2015, in the Communal Home of Mutual Help at Olszańska Street in Krakow, the last meeting of the 10-seminar-cycle was held within the project „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. The interior of the Centre posed a pleasant surprise for visitors who had crossed its threshold for the first time. Newly handed-over venue merges modernness with functionality, and is a part of a Community Psychiatry Centre, that is being created here.

Agnieszka K., Barbara B. as educators, and Anna L. as moderator, and also Katarzyna Ostalecka as a therapist led a focus research, concentrated on the needs of persons suffering from a mental illness. 17-person group worked out a long list of expectations, which we assigned to several areas.

The participants talked about various problems with which they cope: discrimination, stigmatisation of the mentally ill, low social allowances, insufficient number of jobs adjusted to individual needs of the mentally ill, dependence on family and reltives.

We did not manage to activate everyone, but the meeting was dynamic and we managed to achieve the intended goal. The participants expressed their consent for recording and taking photos. A young priest, who was a stagerie here within his psychological university studies, participated in the interview.

In the second part, Agnieszka K. gave testimony of her illness and recovery, with special focus on what had helped her to rise after the „fall”. The group listened, and every now and then asked questions, as well as shared similar experiences. A testimony edifies hope for other persons with disorders for a better future.


Barbara B.

Agnieszka K.


Report of a focus meeting in the Communal Home of Mutual Help in Olkusz, 28th May 2015.

 On 28th May 2015, within a subsequent focus group interview, we visited the Communal Home of Mutual Help in Olkusz. We went there in the following composition: Anna Liberadzka - the author of the grant, Barbara Banaś - Secretary of the Association, Piotr Cebula  - chairman, and Artur - therapist, as a supporting person.

The group of participants consisted of 6 persons, mid-aged. All of them participated in the study very eagerly. They knew well their needs and specified precisely their expecations from institutions established to care for people after mental crises. Financial problems were the issue number one - the participants complained about low social pensions and allowances, including rare in kind reliefs. They emphasised low accessibility of specialist doctors and scanty psychiatric care. Because of lack of funds, the possibility of transport for the participants of the Communal Home of Mutual Aid classes stopped.

The group praised a lot the opportunity of participation in the classes in the Home and were of the opinion that the stay there was interesting and full of various forms of activity. However, their needs of contact with culture and entertainment were not satisfied, as outings to artistic events were rather rare. To a large exent, they felt stigma from their families and more distant milieu. They showed a great interest in activities of the Association and would like to create a similar activity structure in their town.


The meeting passed in a great, friendly atmosphere, and the participats looked satisfied with the fact that their problems were being noticed and posed a subject of interest of the institutions appointed to support recovery of persons with mental problems.


Piotr Cebula



On 29th April 2015, a group of representatives of the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors”, in the following composition: Anna L., Piotr C., Marcin S. and a therapist Marta Błasiak, visited Tomaszkowice in the Wieliczka County.

The outing was organised within the grant „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. The meeting took place in a conference room of a local Communal Home of Mutual Help. A group from the Home, along with a psychologist, came to the meeting. The first part of the meeting - the focus part, was led by Piotr C.  Within the group, persons more active could be distinguished, as well as such who barely said a word. The participants articulated various needs: those connected with their health situation, social-living situation, but also more personal and intimate needs, such as a need of a close relation with other person. For the most part, these needs were unsatisfied. A unique feature of this meeting was participation of a lady psychologist from the Communal Home of Mutual Help. Her presence was on one hand to stabilise the group and ensure its emotional security, and on the other - to encourage the participants to express their opinions and, where appropriate, to substantiate the articulated needs.

In the second part of the meeting, Marcin S. gave testimony to the story of his illness and recovery. He placed a special emphasise on these aspects that helped him in recovery. The reaction of the group was lively and emotional. According to the present persons and the psychologist, the testimony was moving and sincere. The outing could be evaluated as fruitfil and helpful at the same time for the participants of the Home, as they could openly talk about their needs, also those most personal, and listened to testimony of recovery, what gave hope for a better future at least to some of them.









A project under a working name „The Cogito Expert”, financed within the programme „Citizens for Democracy” under the European Economic Area Funds, is being implemented from February this year, while its ending is planned for 31st August 2015.

Who the Cogito Expert is? It is a person, who - according to the assumptions of our Association - shares his or her experience of mental illness and recovery by meeting with various groups of people. He or she is an „expert” of his or her own illness and recovery. And Cogito is obviously Mr. Cogito from the poems of Zbigniew Herbert. Mr. Cogito is haunted by various „monsters” of experiences and thoughts, sometimes entagled in a bundle resembling the experience of psychosis. The name „Cogito” has a long tradition in Krakow, this is the name of a Hotel in Dębniki borough, in which persons with mental illnesses work. There is also the Cogito Educational Centre. We adopted this name also in order to distinguish it from our international counterpart EX-IN (or Experience Involved) - involved through experience.

The above project is a step to validation of our activity as educators, but above all it is to lead to develop the skills necessary to fulfil this role, and to learn also how to moderate a group.

The first stage was work of a 4-person team of experts on creation of a training programme, which would be maximally adjusted to the specificity of work of the people with an experience of a mental illness. The team was in the following composition: Krzysztof Kacuga, an experienced trainer, Dorota Kurbiel - social worker, Anna Liberadzka - the author of the project, and Dorota W. - a member of the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors”. Anna and I, as two persons with an experience of a mental illness, were to contribute our own observations to the Cogito Expert education programme.

The second stage was a double social consultation of the training programme. The third stage would be conduct of three sessions of courses - in May, June, and July - according to this programme. These classes will be conducted by professional trainers (this will be the first time for „Open the Doors” - so far we have trained us ourselves) - Krzysztof Kacuga and Damian Hamerla from Świętochłowice, who have a 14,000-hour-experience of trainings led in Poland, Lativa, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. Anna Liberadzka met these coaches during some course and invited them to work with us. They are great - open to people, agreeable, warm and full of empathy.

The social consultation were held at the Hotel „At Mr. Cogito’s” on 25th March and on 9th April. In the fist ones, mainly the participants from the Communal Home of Mutual Help at Czarnowiejska Street were present. These were persons not related with a work of educator or moderator, however many of them participated at some point (not seldom for one time only, e.g. in a hospital) in lectures for medicine students.

The meetings took two school hours, with a coffe break. At the beginning, the participants filled a questionnaire that measured the level of confidence in relations with others, in expressing oneself and in self-esteem. The same questionnaire was handed out at the end of the consultation, in order to check, if something may change in self-description under the influnece of such classes. There were minor fluctuations in the number of points ascribed to every answer, the confidence of participants rose on average by 1-2 points.

Subsequently, Krzysztof Kacuga presented the programme of the classes, and it looked as follows:

Part I: 4-6 May:

Session I and II: Edifying readiness to work. Defining education, as well as the roles and responsibilities of an educator / moderator.

Session III and IV: Preparation and implementation of the contact with a partner / employer (institution or a certain person).

Session V: Organisational preparation to carry out a task / job.

Session VI: Class planning, programme, arrangements between the moderator and educators on the course of the classes.

Session VII: First steps in the institution. Preparation of the room.

Session VIII: Predisposition and qualifications to fulfil a role of a moderator and an educator.

Session IX: Giving and receiving communiques.

Session X: Choice of form and content in relation to the needs and possibilities of the group.

Session XI: Role: educator, moderator. Relationship with the participants.

Session XII: Difficult situations and how to prevent them.


PART II: 1-2 June

Sessions I-VIII: Auto-presentation – work in front of a camera. Perfection of skills of public presentations.

 Part III: 6-7 July

Session I-VIII: Training of educator and moderator skills.

After familiarising themselves with the programme, the participants filled a questionnaire with questions concerning this programme. At the first meeting, answering the question: „What in your opinion is lacking in the programme? What other competences should be developed?”, one of the persons wrote: „For the beginners in education, classes of empowerment should be held, as well as those building their mental health and faith in oneself...”. There was also a comment tha the programme’s sessions on „oneself and coping with life” should be expanded. This indicates the need of support in starting such activity. As a person who has been „educating” for the last several years, I may tell that there is no such things as routine - each meeting with people is deeply experienced, and one needs feedback, which is often lacking. According to one of the participants, what was lacking in the programme was „the possibility to talk about the illness”. It is also important, but such talks we mainly hold with our therapist.

During the consultation there was also the place for discussion on the training programme. People suggested to devote „a larger amount of time for personal development” and to the „question of assertiveness”, and also to „take into account the condition of the educator (if, for instance, he or she is in illness emission or at a worse condition, then he or she should not educate)”. There was also the comment on taking in more people to the project - the project envisages training of 10 persons.

To the second consultation there came participants from Occupational Therapy Workshops at Miodowa Street, and also most of the members of our Association. The programme was identical. 

Answering the questions regarding the presented proposition of classes, several persons was of the opinion, that self-presentation and „assertiveness training” are very important. What was also emphasised was the importance of the relation with the group of participants, the ability to cope with difficult situations, the co-operation between educator and moderator. Two persons were of the opinion that the session devoted to self-presentation was too long. One of them wrote: „Self-presentation is a way to develop routine, and adopting the fact that body lagnuage, gesticulation and body pose are more important than the content of the speech. Extending this subject into the whole session is an exagerration.”

In the discussion about the proposed classes, the importance of „flexibility during education” was stressed, as we come up with different groups of recipients. Two persons were of the opinion, that „a simple, understandable language” is important. It was also emphasised that education should form a dialogue, not a monologue - it is important to give hope, command of „the emotions in the group”, „smooth-operating team - when one person stops, another helps, complements, takes over”. It was also mentioned that there should be „friendliness, not an atmosphere of competition in the team”.

As a result of the consulation, one of the persons from outside the Association expressed her intrest in participation in the classes and was accepted to the group of participants.

Our coaches have conducted a training for mentally ill persons for the first time. It has to be admitted that they had prepared themselves well, one of them participated even in a lecture for medical students, in which we took part. He also acquired some knowledge in the field of psychiatry and could get acquainted with our role of educators. He stated that it was very valuable for him. And for us the work with experienced, and apart from that open and warm coaches, will also be very valuable. What is also important is that the classes will be for the most part based on our work and training.


Coverage by Dorota Dużyk-Wypich



On 24th March 2015, a group of the members of our Association: Anna L., Wojtek P. and I, Piotr C., as well as the therapist Marta Błasiak have visited a village of Piwniczna, marvellously situated in the mountains. The aim of our tour was implementation of a focus group interview within a grant on the subject „Fighting the social exlusion of the mentally ill”. The venue of the meeting was a lecture hall in the District Centre of Social Care. Due to that fact, some persons with various levels of disability, who above all benefit from the financial support of the Centre came to participate.

In the initial part, I managed to distinct persons with mental problems. In their relations, the dominant part was occupied by the lack of support from psychiatirsts, psychologists, or at least support groups, such as our Association. Doctor’s offices are usually quite remote from their hometowns and not easily accessible. The mentally ill feel lonely and hopeless. Therapeutic visits are to a large extent taken by patients with alcohol addiction. Such situation is predominant in the province and there are substantial barriers for the situation to be changed. Persons from this group keenly took our maganizes - „Dla Nas” [For Us], Rodziny [Families] and we could see their vivid interest in the problems we discovered together. The same situation could be observed in the second part of the meeting - Wojtek P. and I described our experiences during psychosis and subsequent ways of recovery. This part was moderated by Anna L.. Persons with other disability than psychiatric one complained above all about insufficient financial aid from the the state.

Piotr C.





Within the grant „Fighting the social exclusion of the metally ill”, on 10th March 2015, a group of representatives of the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors” in the composition: Anna L., Wojciech P., Jacek N. and the counsellor-therapist Gerard Banach, went to Gorlice to a Day-Support Centre. The focus group, led by Jacek N., was rather big - around 35 people.

We could record and take photos, the group was open for suggestions and rules of conducting the interview. During the focus interview, the group was active; in situations of unclear presentation of needs, the trainer had support of the moderator Anna L.. The group worked in an ordered way, sometimes comments from the group precised and complemented „ill-”defined needs. After fruitfil and exhausting work we had a break - the focus group came across a difficulty in defining further needs.

In the second - educational - part, Wojciech P. presented his story of the illness and recovery, we talked about coping with mental crisis situations and supporting factors. The group listened with interest and attention. When this part came to an end, the group showed their enthusiasm with a big clap. I find the training successful and fruitful.


Jacek N.






On 19th February 2015, together with Barbara B., Anna L., and a therapist Marta Błasiak we visited the Nursing Home in Płaza. This was a subsequent meeting within a grant implemented by the Association and entitled „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. The Nursing Home in Płaza is a stationary home dedicated to persons suffering from chronic mentall illnesses of both sexes. The home ensures 24h care, and fulfils the most fundamental needs of its dwellers, such as a place to sleep, food, clothes, medical help, and also feeling of social security.

In the first part of the meeting, Barbara B. gathered a list of the dwellers’ needs by means of a focus interview method. It turned out that one of the biggest problems for the caretakers of the home was access to doctors of other specialtisations than psychiatry. It was caused by the remoteness of doctor’s offices from the place of residence and queues of awaiting patients. The gathered persons reported also difficulties in qualification to training programmes aimed at patients’ independence. In the course of discussion, we qualified needs we listed together into thematic groups directed to a treatment system, to families and other relatives, to state institutions, the community, and personnel of immediate intervention.

After a short break, Barbara B. and I shared with the participants our experiences from the illness and the process of recovery. This part was moderated by Anna L.. The gathered persons were active and interested in the subject of our study during the whole meeting. In my opinon, it would be worthy to take up the effort of this activity, as these talks added to the gathered persons the need for betterment of their situation.

Piotr C.



On 30th January 2015, together with Anna L.,  Danuta B. and Artur Daren, we conducted another meeting wthin the project „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”, this time in the Communal Home of Mutual Help in Wieliczka. We began the meeting with conducting a focus group interview or the so-called research part, focused on the subject of the „needs of the mentally ill”. The group reacted vividly to the discussion, although they did not allow us to take photos. We could, however, record the whole event. The discussion was held within several areas of needs: those connected with therapy and treatment, the needs directed to public institutions, clerks and politicians, to family and friends, to society and ulterior community, and last but not least, to oneself. After the end of a very rich in conslusions research part and a short break, the educational part held by Anna L. took place. In this part, we have answered with Danuta the answers regarding our recovery. I find our visit to CHoMH in Wieliczka very successful.


  Katarzyna L.





On 3rd December 2014, within the grant „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”, an outing to Occupational Therapy Workshops was held in Skala. The meeting with the workshop participatns composed of two parts:

 - research

 - educational.

Eight persons from the Workshops participated in the meeting, apart from members of the „Open the Doors” Association - Mrs Barbara B. (trainer of the research part), Monika S. (assistant of the trainer), psychologist Anna L., and a therapist Marta Błasiak.

In the research part, our task was to elicit information from the group on the needs of the metally ill in their region.

The interviewed persons expressed their interest in the subject, the group was very dynamic and generated a large number of needs, despite the initial difficulties in taking up the discussion on the abovementioned subject.

In the educational part, Madams Barbara B. and Monika S. talked about their experiences connected with mental illnesses and its overcoming, after which the discussion with the participants of the meeting began.


Monika S.







We came to Tuchow around 10AM. We met with a very warm reception in a newly refursbished centre. We began the training with a focus discussion. Patients did not feel fully confident, so the therapeutic group leader asked for support of one of the therapist, for her to be a member of the group and provide support, just in case. Before we set about the training, the managing doctor asked the members of the „Open the Doors” Association to reduce each part of the meeting to one hour, due to the medical condition of the centre’s patients.

During the meeting, the focus group was slightly intimidated. One of the patients started to represent the group, and with the course of time other persons started to get involved and give their proposals of needs of the mentally ill.

In the second part of the training, i.e. the educational part, we focused on „coming out” of the illness and managing it in the time of psychotic symptoms. To a large extent, this part of the training was led by Dorota D.-W..

In the grant training the following members of the „Open the Doors” participated: Jacek N., Dorota D.-W., Anna L., and a therapist Marta Błasiak.






On 30th October 2014, in the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors” we began the implementation of a research-educational part of the project „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. We went to Wadowice to meet in the Communal Home of Mutual Help, named after Blessed Mother Teresa from Calcutta, with a group of 17 beneficiaries, who agreed to take part in a focus group interview, devoted to the needs of the mentally ill, and in the educational part entitled „My ways of coming out of the illness”.

Barbara B. and Marek Z. from our Association, after presenting themselves and the therapists Jagoda Tytko and Marta Błasiak, conducted the research part, pinpointing the aims of the project implemented within the Citizens for Democracy programme, emphasising the important role and contribution of persons, who through their active particpiation in the meeting would contribute to creation of the report, which will be published and sent to state institutions and ministries responsible for psychiatric care functioning. The group was very active and we have quickly defined many needs regarding mentally ill people, on the basis of our own experience, but also of knowledge from other sources. We had selected six areas to which the needs corresponded, and systematised them.

After that we pondered on who could contribute to introduction of the desired ammendments and who is responsible for them. The discussants often focused on their communities and addressed many needs to their immediate public institutions, but introducted also a number of generalisations. In the first part, we did not manage to activate all participats (a large group), but according to previous arrangements, nobody left the room and those who did not express their opinions listened carefully to opinons of their colleagues. Four persons were dominant and constantly generated new ideas, so the time was passing really quick, and the dynamics of the group could be distinctly felt, and if it had not been for time contraints, we would have worked out much more ideas. In the second part, the educators talked about their illness context and ways of coping with it, as well as about recovery and empowerment. The attenders joined in the utterances and shared their own experience. In the outcome of the talk on the importance of faith in God in recovery, the particpants decided to ask priest for help in understanding their spiritual states and differentiating the ones related to the illness from the religious experience. The therapists were asked numerous questions, and apparently the group opened up, as these persons who in the first part did not take the floor joined in the discussion. At the end, evaluation questionnaires were filled, for which the participants devoted much more time than the alloted limit.

In Wadowice we met with a great wholeheartedness and hospitality of the CHoMH workers. We were treated not only with coffee and tea, but were also invited to a delicious lunch, prepared by the culinary team. Each group asserted the other of the readiness to further cooperation and meeting at future occassions.


Barbara B.






We implemented the first stage of the project „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. On 22-24 September this year, on a going-away session, we prepared ourselves to subsequent stages of the project, consisting in conducting research-educational meetings. And here are our impressions from the excursion:


In the framework of preparations to the project „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”, the members of the „Open the Doors” Association” went to Szczawnica, to work in a holiday house „Three Crowns” for 3 days on raising their qualifications.

The training, professionally prepared by psychologists Anna Liberadzka, M.A. and Artur Daren, M.A. was very intensive. On the beginning we got familiarised with theoretical groundwork of the focus group on the basis of a set of well-designed materials, which all of us obtained at our disposal, to further work toghether on a scenario entitiled „The needs of people suffering from a mental illness”. We agreed the rules which would be bounding during the focus group interview, selected areas, to which the questions would relate in such a way that we could focus on what would be most useful in the project. Subsequent sessions were devoted to practical classes. The participants were very active and were trying to make optimal use of the alloted time in order to learn as much as possible and to use it in practice. Every one from the participants could exercise the following stages of the research meeting from introducing him or herself, introduction by main discussion, to summarisation and ending. This was not easy. For the first time we met with work with a focus group and had to remember not to multiple old habits, but to open up for a new form of a focus group interview, which uses interactions within a group.

In the atmosphere of kindness and attention we corrected each other’s mistakes and empowered mutually in what was positive. Under the eye of our trainers Anna and Artur who treated us in a partner-like way, we felt that we efficiently acquired new skills, and the subject of needs of the mentally ill was developed in many aspects and details. The second part of our potential speeches „My ways of coming out of the illness” did not inconvenience us anymore, as we had led many educational meetings in this subject before.

In the evening, we have integrated with one another at a cafė table in the intriguing „Cats’ Castle”, whereas on the second day we went for a walk and breathed fresh, „healthy”, mountain air.

In my opinion, this was an important training trip, preparing us to a new phase of our activity in the „Open the Doors” Association.

Barbara B.



”The trip was interesting from the perspective of the content, as well as of the entertainment. I am glad that, above all, I did have an occasion to get to know and train myself in the scope of focus group interviews. The stay was held in a very attractive place - Szczawnica - in an agreeable town, where we could admire beautiful mountain views. In the free time, we organised outings, walks together, what was for me a nice experience. Apart from that, this outing let me get to know the other persons belonging to it, and to integrate with them more.”

Monika S.


 ”This was for me a new challenge, which I feared a lot, as I did not know if I can manage. On the first day of the Focus Group training there were a lot of materials and we had to note a lot (...) On the second day, namely Tuesday, there were more practical or specific tasks, which consisted in the rule that whoever wanted or not to practice, could practice or not. I decided to practice on the second and third day, as on the first I could not manage (I did not withstand the jitters). But the second and third presentation were successful, I approached them in a more relaxed way.

 Norbert N.


”Classes in education on focus group interviews went smoothly. On the first day of the training we learned what focus group interviews are, this was however only the theoretical scope. In theoretical aspect, everything proved to be understandable. On the second day, we prepared ourselves in the practical dimension. There were some difficulties, but after detailed corrections, we managed to understand the nature and meaning of group focus interviews, and what mistakes we most commonly make. On the third day, we could train the whole of a focus group interview, i.e. introduction, main discussion, and ending.

The group was concentrated on the task and disciplined in terms of the timing. The trip turned out to be fruitful, we learned a new form of research.

Apart from learning, we had also the opportunity to go out to town, and to go for walks along hiking trails.

Jacek N.






It is our pleasure to inform, that for another time we managed to obtain funds for implementation of our tasks defined in the Articles of Association. This time we obtained a subsidy of 70,000 PLN. In the time frame from 1st September 2014 to 30 September 2015, we will implement a project entitled „Fighting the social exclusion of the mentally ill”. The operator of the grant is the Stefan Batory Fundation, while the funds come from Donor States: Norway, Island and Lichtenstein.

The project will form support for the mentally ill persons from Malopolskie Province and is an answer to the problem of a deepening social exclusion of this group. In the wake of the project, 120 persons with a mental illness, and also their community will learn the strategies of coping with exclusion on various levels, thanks to a method of  „first-hand” knowledge from those who overcame the illness. The research part of the project, whose gist consist in inclusion in co-decision-making processes of the adressees of the project, will lead to working out a report with recommendations, which would become a step forward to communication in a public in a more open way, clearly express their expectations, and thanks to it, to enlarge adequacy of proposed forms of support.

The project supposes a preparatory stage: working out a scenario of meetings and research, a cycle of 10 of research-educational meetings, and recapitulation, working out a report along with recommendations, which will be passed to decision-makers and made public.

We will inform on developments in the grant implementation on regular basis. 




”Empowerment of civic activeness and awareness in the field of psychiatry”

The project pertains to empowerment of civic activeness, awareness, and knowledge in the field of psychiatry.

The main aim of the project is the increase of civic activeness of the mentally ill in therapeutic communities. And an increase of awareness and knowledge of real needs of the mentally ill, their rights, responsibilities, opportunities among the ill, in their milieu, and in therapeutic circles.

Within the implemented project we envisage the following activities:


1. Edition and publication of the Dla Nas Magazine

Conduct of the cycle of seminars entitled „Let’s talk about mental illness” for students of social and medical faculties, who in whichever way connect their professional future with helping psychiatric clients and their families. We want for them to be sensitized as early as possible for the needs of this group, and to confront the tex-book knowledge with an experience of the illness presented by the most reliable witnesses. It is important so that they know what kind of help and behaviours are most desired by the very patients, what is important from their perspective, what expectations and real needs the patients have.


2. A cycle of trainings „To the rescue of the mentally ill” - an activity addressed to those, who with regard to their professional activity, meet on various levels with questions related to mental health, but have in this matter no proper education, expertise, information, mailny due to the fact that their work assumes contacts with representatives of various groups and communities, including the group of the mentally ill.


3. Organisation of the Solidarity Day with the Mentally Ill: 10th October 2012

The aim of this action will be directing the attention to the situation of the mentally ill, deepening the knowledge about this illness, and through this - to improve a negative image that is present in the society of mentally ill persons. The participation is also a declaration and a sign of solidarity with all the ill, and thus it gives hope and encouragement.


4. Organisation of the Community Psychiatry Forum of Beneficiaries, Families and Professionals

The aim of the Forum is above all to create a platform and conditions for a trialogue between the mentally ill, their families, and professionals. The vision of the Forum assumes to talk about important matters from the perspective of these three groups, and thanks to this - to unite in action. The Forum is also the occassion to give the floor to all those, who normally do not have the possibility to speak in public, there are no bigger and smaller issues, every problem reported by the participants of the Forum is worth paying attention to and being noticed. The Forum - thanks to a numerous participation of specialists, experts in mental health, contributes substantially to the increase of the knowledge, and because of the problems raised - to an increase of the level of awareness.


5. Promotional Campaign

The activity is aimed at providing knowledge and information on problems of the group, but also on the very project. The target groups will be: the mentally ill persons, persons from their milieu, in particular families, professionals and other persons, who on their professional way meet with a problem of a mental illness, but also all others who are intrested in the question of mental health, and who care about the lot of the mentally ill.

Coverage by Anna L.



The "Dla Nas" Magazine

In the course of the year 2011, the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors” published 4 volumes of the periodical ”Dla Nas” - a Magazine of the Communities Acting for the Mentally Ill. These were: number 22 issued in May 2011, number 23 issued in September 2011, number 24 issued in November, and number 25 issued in December 2011. The frequency of issues was determined by obtaining funds, assigned from the grants won by the Association. During the year, a change on the position of the editor-in-chief took place. From the 24th number, Dorota D.-W. plays this role. In place of Mr Rafał Perkowski came Łukasz Cichocki, Ph.D. (both from the Association for the Development of Community Psychiatry and Care). During this year, the circle of persons cooperating with the Editorial Team has broadened substantially. Large contribution of work of the Editorial Team was made by Katarzyna Byra-Mucha, who was responsible for grant coordination. A member of the Association „Open the Doors” and at the same time a member of the Editorial Team, Jacek N., experienced DTP operator, who put together all the four issues of the Dla Nas magazine published in 2011.


”We Need to Give Testimony. Recovery and Empowerment of the Mentally Ill in the East-Southern Poland”


It is our pleasure to inform you tha the Patients’ Association „Open the Doors”, with its registered office at Czarnowiejska 13/8, 31-126 Krakow, with the cooperation of the Association for the Development of Community Psychiatry and Care, carries out a project financed under The Fund for Non-governmental Organisations within the 3rd Component „Equal Opportunities and Social Integration” entitled „We Need to Give Testimony. Recovery and Empowerment of the Mentally Ill in the East-Southern Poland.”

The project comprises with its teritorial scope the communes of the following provinces: Malopolskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie and Podkarpackie. Project implementation time-frame is: 01st January 2010 to 31 December 2010.

The aim of the project is empowering of the position of the mentally ill through mental health promotion, above all the idea of recovery and empowerment, leading to eqalling their opportunities of normal functioning in the society.

The idea of the project was born as an answer to diagnosed needs related to sitaution of the mentally ill in Poland. The National Programme of Mental Health Care for the years 2009 - 2013 reports a successive increase from the beginning of the 90s of incidence rate of psychotic and non-psychotic mental disorders, and pinpoints the necessity of the change in approach to mental disorders of both the ill and their communities.


The project is directed to mentally ill persons, their families, professionals working with them, and also to representatives of local communities - priests, social workers, representatives of local public institutions. We want in this way to strengthen systemic care, and lead to their inner inter-community consolidation. However, the main benefit of receipients will be getting to know the idea of „recovery” and „empowerment” - acquiring knowledge of coming out of the illness, how to cope with its symptoms, and how to live despite the illness.


The project promotes mental heatlh, comprehended as orientation in which leading full life and deriving hapiness from its richness and diversity is possible despite the experience of the illness. We assume that persons suffering from mental illness have resources enabling them to plan their own developement, active co-operation in the process of treatment and rehabilitation, and are equipped with the power of self-determination and decision-making.


We believe that implementation of this project will contribute to giving opportunities for a full, satisfactory life, enable to break negative image of the illness and will let hope - our ally in recovery - to stay in our lives on a permanent basis - we wish this for you and for us.




Support granted by Island, Lichtenstein, and Norway through financing from resources of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and Norwegian Financial Mechanism, and also from the resources of the budget of the Republic of Poland within the Fund for Non-governmental Organisations




"How to educate Others about us?”

It is our plesure to inform you about the next project we won. We took part in a competition for implementation of public tasks from the scope of professional and social rehabilitation of the disabled, commissioned from the funds of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of the Disabled Persons in 2009. Our application has been accepted and financed. We obtained a subsidy in the amount of 10,000 PLN.

This time we want to invest in ourselves. We are planning a cycle of 6 discussion-workshop meetings, aimed at preparing us to better play the role of educators.

We entitled the project „How to educate Others about us?” - it will be implemented from December 2009 onwards.