The “A Better Prospect” Virtual Event took place on Saturday, 17 April 2021

This event was put together for the EUFAMI member organisations who implement the Prospect Training Programmes and their Prospect Faciliators. There were over 45 participants consisting of National Prospect Coordinators, National Prospect Faciliators and invited external guest speakers 😊

The event aimed to:

  • celebrate
  • listen and learn from each other through sharing best practice
  • learn new skills

With a very intense one day programme of

  • presentations
  • workshops
  • Q&A (question and answer) sessions

A Celebration!

The event brings the Prospect Plus Project towards its final phase.

For over a year the Prospect Plus project partners have worked on revising and updating the 2006 original Prospect Training Programme for Family and Friends, and this work is now almost completed. The Prospect project member test training sessions, have all taken place. A formal review of the Training Programme content is pending. The design is of the training manual underway. Finally, the translation of the Training Programme from the English language into the Czech Republic, Finnish, French, Slovenian and Spanish languages will shortly take place. For all these reasons it is time for celebration!

The whole project process was very much influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The “Kick-Off” event was adapted at very short notice to the online environment. All further project meetings continued online. Still today, the project partners have not met face-to-face! This is also cause for celebration, as working online did not deter or discourage the project partners!

Although the original Prospect Training Programmes were produced in 2006, the work actually began in 2001.  Still today, now 20 years later in 2021, the training programmes still are considered a valuable experience because they encourage, improve quality of life, give hope, open new perspectives, understanding, help with better coping skills, motivate, and empower. This is a celebration in itself!

As a result of how the Prospect Training Programmes are considered such a valuable experience, there has been “next steps” for Prospect already developed in Finland and France. This way the participants have the opportunity to meet and reconsider the various topics covered and the lessons learnt.

Many Prospect participants have also wanted to continue with the spirit of Prospect and have become themselves Prospect Faciliators! EUFAMI member organisations who implement the Prospect Training Programmes have encouraged this spirit and teamwork by supporting this process.

In fact, the Prospect Family all-over Europe is much larger than we can ever imagine. Prospect has touched and influenced the lives of many family and friends over the years and will continue to do so 😊

Presentations and Workshops

Former EUFAMI President, Miia Männikkö opened and welcomed all to the event. Gwen Crawford, Prospect Project Manager outlined the programme for the day and indicated the needs for running a smooth online event with live interpretation in 4 languages.

The first workshop and presentation of the day was by Nelli Santala and Annika Forth from FinFami, Finland. They were pioneers in developing e-Prospect: taking the Prospect Training Programme content from face-to-face to the online environment! Firstly, they facilitated the “lifeline” exercise from Module 3 of the Prospect Training Programme with input from two other Prospect Faciliators from Finland, Marja-Leena and Marita. Then they shared their e-Prospect experiences and the lessons learnt with the other participants. The questions and answers were based on the advantages and disadvantages of the e-Prospect versus face-to-face. The conclusion was that e-Prospect is a positive step as Prospect needs to focus on and develop its outreach towards the generations to come.

To celebrate 20 years of Prospect, the next speaker group were a blast from the past! Former EUFAMI President Begone Ariño and Clinical Psychologist Simon Gelsthorpe were invited to speak. Both were involved in the content development for the Prospect Training Programmes for Family/Friends (Begone) and Health and Social Care Professionals (Simon).  Begone spoke about “Empowering Families/Carers in EUFAMI – When did it all begin?” and Simon talked about the “Types of power” – as an aid in planning empowerment. Missing from this speaker group was Jens Ibsen who sadly died last autumn. Jens was responsible for the content development of the People with Self-Experience Training Programme from 2006.


The questions and answer sessions raised the point that communication with professionals seems to be an issue shared by all and is not dependent upon what country you are from or language you speak. So, what should professionals do to empower families? The answer was “Stop taking away their Power” which is easier said than done and the advice was for family and friend carers to “change their attitude and act like a professional” when communicating with them.


                                       From this point on – due to the intense nature of the day programme – the question and answers were

sadly confined to the Chat function of ZOOM.

The next speakers were Vaula Ollonen and Mauno Kaartinen from FinFami, Finland. Their presentation was on the “Emotion Cards”. A facilitation tool designed and developed in Finland for the Prospect Faciliators. The workshop was interactive, and participants were able to experience first-hand the uses of these “Emotion Cards”. This generated much interest from the international group of Prospect Facilitators participating and the advice given was: “don’t overuse the cards! keep it novel and fresh”.

Next was a guest speaker, Edmund Carroll from a community arts group in Ireland that first undertook research into art and health. He gave a two-part workshop aimed at the Prospect Facilitators called “Imagining “Me” as facilitator”. The workshop focused on the idea that we are already working with creativity and art in the facilitation process. Working from ideas developed by Viktor Frankl, he illustrated 3 steps on how to feel comfortable doing this: (1) Discover our own unique expression as Prospect over thirty years; (2) Create an expression of our unique Prospect work; and (3) Share it with other Prospect facilitators; friends and family.

In advance of the workshop, participants had responded to a written exercise called imagine a good experience of facilitation. Participants had to also find an image to symbolize their writing.  It was clear from what was received, that Prospect facilitators had already discovered their unique story and were able to communicate it by creating a lovely poetic texts and images.  The message being “What community art brings to the work of the facilitator is, that we need to call upon not just our mind, but also our heart and our creative potential too”.



The final part of the workshop was to find a way to (3) share and this gave us much food for thought.  Edmund suggested that the various national Prospect Facilitators groups find an image(s) or item(s) of their Prospect Group which visualize and represents them. They could place these in a parcel or envelope and send it to another national Prospect Facilitator group – ideally in another country where language is a boundary.  The rules of the exchange such as the opening process, the creation process and the posting process, would have to be self-managed and suit local circumstances. The final message is “Art changes people and people change their own world”. Edmund planted the idea that the participants today were actually a Prospect Orchestra – because everyone has a part to play to form a harmonious and powerful energy.


The next speaker was Vaula Ollonen from FinFami, Finland. Vaula is the Prospect National Coordinator and part of her task is to support the Facilitators and Volunteers of FinFami. She shared best practice from Finland on “Peer to Peer Support and volunteer work management”.


Alfonso Serrano from Confederacion Salud Mental from Spain presented next. Alfonso presented the work of Ana Ochoa and Rocio Sauceda on the content development of additional materials focusing on well-being. The original idea was to run a workshop on self-compassion and self-care during the “A Better Prospect” event but due to technical limitations, it was not possible to give a presentation in the Spanish language. We do hope that at a future occasion, the workshop will be possible. The message from the presentation was “take care of yourself before taking care of someone else”.

The next speaker was Emmanuelle Remond from UNAFAM, France spoke next. Emmanuelle also presented in English the presentation on the work of the Prospect Facilitator Christiane Thomas. Christiane is not only an experienced Prospect Facilitator but also has the responsibility of following up evaluation and feedback materials with the various Prospect Faciliators. The presentation highlighted the importance of evaluation, and various types and stages of evaluation not only to improve the content and delivery, but also to be able to prove the efficiency of the training programme and in this way access national public health funds.


The final speaker of the day was Edo Belak from SENT, Slovenia. Edo is the Prospect national coordinator and a Prospect Facilitator. Edo spoke about the experience of implementing Prospect in Slovenia and how cultural identity, norms and values, influences opportunities and sustainability. For this reason, international support for the national Prospect Facilitators is essential in Slovenia.


The final session of the day was a question-and-answer session lead by Gwen Crawford and some conclusions to the event. Former EUFAMI President Miia Männikkö acknowledged the work of the Prospect National Coordinators and the Prospect Faciliators. The Prospect Facilitators who had taken part in the national test training sessions for the project were presented with an online digital certificate.

Miia also thanked the speakers, the participants, the interpreters, the interpretation tech HUB company and gave special thanks to the partnership with the Janssen EMEA Fund which has enabled EUFAMI and the Prospect members to review and improve the Prospect Family and Friends Training Programme and produce “A Better Prospect”

The “A Better Prospect” Event was then brought to a close.

 A Final Word:

Stay tuned!!!:   there will be an online taster workshop organized during the EUFAMI AGM this June!



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Making mental health everybody’s business; campaigning for a European Year

Brussels, 23 March 2021

In a meeting of the MEP Alliance for Mental Health, held today, some 100 representatives of interested EU and national level organisations and MEPs underlined the need and voiced their support for a dedicated European Year for Mental Health, to be instigated in the short term. EUFAMI attended as the European voice of family organisations in mental health.

Background to this event, organised by GAMIAN-Europe, is the fact that mental health and related policy still are a  relatively low policy priority, despite its huge prevalence, cost and impact – on individuals, families and carers, health and social systems, employers, communities and the economy as a whole.

In addition, the EU level is not following through its previous ‘specific’ mental health approach and is now treating mental health as part of its general actions on chronic conditions.

The meeting was the follow up to a smaller event, held in November, in which the idea for a European Year was explored by leading EU-wide mental health-related organisations. This led to the elaboration of a discussion paper which served as the background for today’s discussions.

Maria Walsh MEP, co-chair of the MEP Alliance for Mental Health already stated her intention to campaign for such a Year during and after the 2019 European elections; in today’s meeting she underlined that ‘ there is an urgent need to ensure awareness – with policymakers, service providers, the general public – of the importance of mental health in all its aspects, ranging from prevention, to diagnosis, treatment, care and cure. She stated that ‘the time is now to make mental health everybody’s business as the current COVID-19 pandemic truly puts the spotlight on the huge importance of mental health and well-being’.

The Year would have a general, population mental health focus as well as well as aim to increase the  understanding of the specific needs of patients and groups at risk.

MEPs Estrella Dura Ferrandis, Radka Maxova, Alex Agius Saliba, Tomas Zdechovsky, Juozas Olekas, Luisa Regimenti, Josiane Cutajar and Alviina Alametsa all expressed their commitment to advocating for a European Year, ensuring that it becomes a reality.

‘We need a better and wider understanding of the importance and impact of mental health as wellas effective policy, practice and services in this area’, Maria Walsh MEP said. ‘We can improve people’s well-being while ultimately saving resources. The time is now to make mental health everybody’s business as the current COVID-19 pandemic truly puts the spotlight on the huge importance of mental health and well-being’.

The results of today’s discussion will feed into the development of a comprehensive campaign plan and decisions on aims, potential themes, activities and structure of a European Year for Mental Health.


Notes for editors

1       Some more information on the MEP Alliance for Mental Health:

The MEP Alliance for Mental Health (established in 2009 as the European Parliament Interest Group on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Brain Disorders) aims to bring together MEPs and relevant stakeholders advocate the development of sound EU policies which contribute to the prevention of mental ill health and ensure appropriate and high quality services and person-centred care, empowering those affected.

The Group meets 2-3 times a year; these meetings provide an opportunity to underline the need for and propose EU-level activities to take the field of mental health into account in a variety of areas and plan advocacy activities. The secretariat for this Group is being provided by GAMIAN-Europe.

Supporting MEPs:

Agius Saliba Alex Malta S&D (co-chair)
Benifei Brando Italy S&D
Busoi Cristian RO   EPP
Cutajar Josianne MT   S&D
Ciuhodaru Tudor RO   S&D
Cseh Katalin HU   RE
Duda Jaroslaw PL   PPE


Lucia  SK   ECR
Estaras Ferragut Rosa ES   S&D
Guillaume Sylvie FR   S&D
Hautala Heidi Finland Greens
Kympouropoulos Stelios GR   PPE
Maydell Eva BUL   PPE
Maxova Radka CZ   RE
Olekas Juozas LT S&D
Palmer Rory UK   S&D (co-chair)
Patriciello Aldo Italy EPP
Pietikainen Sirpa Finland EPP
Roose Caroline FR Greens
Sarvamaa Petri Finland EPP
Sokol Tomislav CT   PPE
Tertsch Hermann ES   ECR
Tomc Romana Slovenia EPP
Walsh Maria IRL   PPE (co-chair)
Zdechovsky Tomas CZ   EPP (co-chair)

2       Some information on GAMIAN-Europe

GAMIAN-Europe (Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe), a patient-driven pan-European organisation, represents the interests of persons affected by mental illness and advocates for their rights. Its main activities relate to advocacy, information and education, developing partnerships and capacity building.

Nigel Olisa

3      Discussion paper on a European Year of Mental Health


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