Name of the activity: Dance It Out

Country/NMO: Lithuania (LiMSA)

Program: Mental Health

 

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education

 

General description:

This is complex event consisting of a 4hour main event, two NMO preparation events and a media campaign. We aim to reduce social integration of people with intellectual disability by creating a friendly atmosphere with their families, medical students, school children and engaging them into a dance and games party. We hope to empower parents of people with intellectual disability to work towards integration of their children by providing knowledge (in our event – the basic principles of advocacy), enabling them to make contacts with each other and encouraging a discussion between parents. The main goal of the event is to reduce stigma between health care professionals and the general population by providing an event where school children, future health care professionals and intellectually disabled people can interact with each other – one of the best ways to fight stigma concerning people with disabilities, providing knowledge about people with disabilities and the general information about their situation in local, national and international level, providing ways to learn more about mental health after the event and having a strong public relations plan. All in all, this is an event for everyone. Reducing stigma for the society, building mental health protective factors for families and creating social contacts for people with intellectual disabilities.

Focus area:

Communities especially vulnerable to mental health

Problem statement:

Approximately 1-3 percent of the global population has an intellectual disability — as many as 200 million people. Even though, an important part of the population has intellectual disability or has a family member with it (approximately 11 000 out of 2 800 000 in Lithuania), we rarely see intellectually disabled people in public places or events. As well they study in a separate school and don’t leave their homes during their leisure time. Parents of children with intellectual disability have to stay at home and take care of them, advocate for their rights and still manage to have a life of their own. This situation puts them at a high risk of mental health problems. As a result, we have social isolation and stigmatization of people with intellectual disability. It can be seen not only in the general population but also in the health care professionals’ society. Having never interacted with intellectually disabled people they become a part of the stigmatizing world. Our project aims to reduce all these problems in Lithuania.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

1. People with intellectual disability – reduce social isolation
2. Families of intellectual disability – empowerment to reach for change
3. Medical students and school children – reduce stigma by live interaction

Objectives and indicators of success:

1.Organize a 4 hour event for people with intellectual disability, their families, medical students and school children with about 100 participants. During the event:
a.Provide activities for people with intellectual disability (at least 50 people)
b.Provide a skill building 1-1,5h seminar for families of people with intellectual disability ( at least 30 people)
2.Organize preparation activities in the NMO:
a. A discussion with a local public health leader in the field of mental health or intellectual disability (at least 30 NMO members)
b.A meeting with families with intellectually disabled children (at least 30 NMO members)
3.Organize a media campaign:
a.Invite major mass media representatives to the event (get an interview in the local news)
b.Create a social media campaign with photos from the event
c.Create a Facebook group for the participants and continue sharing information regarding mental health and intellectual disability

Methodology:

1.Create an organizational committee for the event out of 4-5 NMO members (at least about 3 months before the main event).
2.Create a marketing and public relations plan (at least about 3 months before the main event)
3. Find a place for the main event and creating it’s agenda (finding the main speakers for the seminar)
4.Start public relations plan’s first step – promoting the event:
a.Medical students – internal NMO sharing
b.School children – contacting local schools
c.People with intellectual disabilities and their families – contacting national NGO’s working with them
5.Carry out a marketing plan – to find funds for the event
6.Organize preparation activities inside the NMO:
a.Contact local public health leader in the field of mental health or intellectual disability and inviting NMO members to join the discussion;
b.Contact local families with intellectually disabled children and inviting NMO members to join the discussion
7.Carryout the main event:
a.Before participants come decorate the place, prepare medical students and school children;
b.Greeting speech in the main hall and the start of the dance and games
c.After an hour invite parents to join a skill building seminar (for example advocacy)
d.The end of the dance and games and the final speech
e.After the participants leave carry out a reflection/feedback collection from medical students and school children
8.During the event carry out the 2nd part of the public relations plan – promoting the event on real time (invited local tv stations, sending a press release to local newspapers and so on)
9.Create a Facebook follow-up group with all the participants
10.During the whole week carry out the 3rd part of the public relations plan – raising awareness in the media (carry out a social media campaign, upload photos from the event and so on).

Plans for evaluation:

1.The number of people participating in the event:
a.50 people with intellectual disability
b.60 family members
c.50 medical students
d.30 school children
2. The number of people in the seminar (at least 30)
3.The number of people in the preparation activities:
a.30 people in both discussions
4. Feedback form separately for medical students,school children and families of people with intellectual disability