Family and health
Citizens may be facing very serious problems, disadvantaged children may need help, sick people need support, and the elderly must have a worthy life.
Learn more about family and health:
The central element is children’s needs. The Department of Social Services provides support to disadvantaged children and families, focusing on prevention and the inclusion of the child in his or her immediate surroundings. However, it may, unfortunately, sometimes be necessary for children to be taken into care.
Prevention in the immediate environment
The four social service centres in Aarhus offer free advice to families to help solve problems in the family. The offer is aimed at parents or other carers. In addition, the Department of Social Services collaborates closely with the Department for Children and Young People on preventive measures.
Within the 13 institutional areas, meetings are held with children and parents to tackle the problems before they become major issues. The department also works with the Department for Health and Care as part of the prevention work in relation to children and young people.
Both pregnant women and parents of young children with parenting problems may also be offered daytime support at the ‘Vuggestedet’ institution, and the family workshops can also provide support and advice to families. The primary goal is for the child to remain and develop in his or her immediate environment.
An example of a preventive measure in the immediate environment is a flat in a socially disadvantaged area in southern Aarhus which is open to children and young people, for example if they have not had breakfast or if they need a packed lunch to take to school or help with their homework.
When prevention is not enough
The most radical family support measure is when a child is placed in a residential institution. The City of Aarhus has a wide variety of institutions for different age groups between 0 and 18 years.
An alternative to institutional care is professional family care, and recently network foster parents, either relatives or friends in the local area, have become an option.
In addition, the municipality has crisis centres for battered women with children.
Initiatives aimed directly at young people
The youth centre ‘Ungdomscentret’ advises and visits young people who are having problems such as drug or alcohol abuse or broken social relations. The main target group is 14 to 18-year-olds, but older young people may also receive help, for example with choosing an education.
Social inclusion and citizenship are core objectives of the help and support offered by the City of Aarhus to citizens with physical and mental disabilities. The support which is offered is designed in dialogue with the user groups.
A multi-faceted disability policy
The core values of the City of Aarhus’s disability policy are to ensure equal status, equal opportunities and respect for disabled citizens in Aarhus. In addition, the policy includes a large number of initiatives to ensure equal opportunities for disabled people, e.g. accessibility in the city space, on public transport and in their own homes. The top priority is access to information, education and work.
Disability Policy of the City of Aarhus
Difficult transition from adolescent to adult
The transition to adulthood is difficult, not least for disabled citizens. When a person comes of age at 18, the allowances become individual allowances and not allowances for a young person in a family. Many see this as a very difficult shift, and to improve the services provided in this area, the City of Aarhus has developed a collaboration model to ensure a more integrated and cohesive approach to the transition from childhood to adulthood for the group of young people with disabilities and their families.
Close collaboration with disabled citizens and the disabled organisations
The best proposals for new initiatives come from the citizens themselves and their organisations. The city works closely with the organisations representing the disabled on developing policies for the disabled, and the specific collaboration details are agreed for each new initiative. Inclusion and independence are keywords in the close collaboration with the individual disabled citizen, for example in connection with the preparation of the citizen’s individual action plan.
The user club – an employers’ association
A special scheme under the Danish Social Services Act (Serviceloven) is the so-called citizen-managed personal assistance, where the disabled person manages his or her part of the payment for disability assistance. The disabled citizen thus employs his or her own helpers, and the scheme provides all the tools necessary to live an independent life.
In addition to the advantages, there are also some difficulties, and citizens managing their own personal assistance have thus established the user club ‘Brugerklubben’, which acts like an employers’ association. The club collaborates with the municipality and exchanges experience on the task of being an employer and citizen managing your own personal assistance in Aarhus.
Adult Disability is primarily concerned with providing housing services for citizens with disabilities. The housing services provide citizens with an educational and developmental approach based on a naturally recognised, appreciated and respectful acceptance of the individual and of his/her resources and capabilities.
The efforts focus on offering the citizen the opportunity to be an active member of and contributor to society. The goal of the initiative is to promote social inclusion and active citizenship for adults with disabilities. This is done by supporting the individual’s participation in many different types of social life on an equal footing with all other citizens.
To be socially active
Adult Disability is aware that being socially active is not an innate skill. The exercise of active citizenship requires tools to be learned and developed. The initiative focuses on learning and training with the goal of increasing the citizen’s opportunities for realising personal desires for self-expression and quality of life through work, education, training, development and care.
Supporting social inclusion Adult Disability focuses in particular on supporting social inclusion of the citizen partly through employment and partly through the involvement of civil society and volunteers.
The employment efforts help citizens find jobs on special terms on the ordinary labour market. The involvement of civil society and volunteers is, among other things, about creating networks between people with disabilities and other members of the community, and thus supporting the citizens’ involvement across different communities, strengthening neighbourliness and creating new friendships.
The social-psychiatric initiatives and services provided by the City of Aarhus are based on user inclusion and an approach where the employee supports the user’s recovery process.
Mental illness is not always a permanent condition
People with severe psycho-social disabilities can recover. Some people fully recover from their disabilities, and many others will be able to live meaningful lives in the community despite their permanent mental illness.
The City of Aarhus’s initiatives are based on the recovery approach. The goal is for the individual with psychiatric difficulties to lead a worthwhile life and to be in control of as many aspects of his or her life as possible.
Focus on the individual's needs
The City of Aarhus’s services are thus tailored to the needs of the individual person, both in terms of housing choices, daily activities and the day programmes. These day programmes serve as both activity centres and places where users can ‘hang out’. The contact person works closely with the psychiatry user, and plans are prepared in partnership with him or her.
The main focus of the work is social inclusion, and together with the recovery approach the most important challenge is to try to help the user get in a position where he or she can use the city’s social and other facilities like everyone else. Therefore, social psychiatry tries not only to create special places for people with mental health problems but to build bridges together with users and to all parts of the surrounding society.
Collaboration with the region’s treatment-oriented approach
In Aarhus, like in the rest of Denmark, psychiatric treatment is delivered by the region through different teams based mainly at the psychiatric hospital and at different locations around the city. The members of the regional psychiatry team work together with social workers in the city when it is necessary for tailoring the treatment and care.
The collaboration between the city and the region is regulated in a ‘health agreement’, which covers a four-year period. Leaders from the regional psychiatric services and the city’s social psychiatry department meet regularly to regulate and develop the collaboration.
Close collaboration with users/relatives
Users and their relatives are equal partners, and the city has entered into a number of agreements with several organisations.
‘GalloJob’ provides jobs for psychiatry users, ‘Tossekassen’ produces TV programs about mental illnesses and the Mental Health Day/Sindets Dag event is organized in collaboration between the City of Aarhus and the organisations.
The city also employs current and former users who, among other things, carry out tasks related to temporary accommodation facilities, daytime activities and contact places.
Prevention and Treatment
The regional authorities in Denmark run the hospitals, but the municipalities carry out a number of tasks, for example in relation to prevention. Health centres and individual rehabilitation plans are the main elements in the City of Aarhus’s new health initiative. Following the structural reform in Denmark, health promotion and prevention became a focus area for the Danish municipalities. The City of Aarhus is establishing health units which pool the many new health offers.
New health centre
The health centre ‘SundhedsCenter Aarhus’ provides a wide range of health services to the citizens of Aarhus, e.g. rehabilitation, stop-smoking courses and exercise for overweight people. In addition, a health clinic will be established at all local residential and activity centres for the elderly to prevent hospitalisation or to reduce periods of hospitalisation.
Prevention and rehabilitation
Based on the factors diet, smoking, alcohol and exercise, the City of Aarhus has launched numerous preventive measures, primarily in the form of information campaigns combined with preventive activities at the health centres and at the health centre for young people, ‘Sundhedshuset for unge’.
Part of the rehabilitation process following hospitalisation has now also become a municipal task. Based on a medical assessment, a rehabilitation plan may be prepared for the patient following discharge from hospital.
Focus on young people
The health centre for young people aged 18 to 25 provides advice on general health issues, currently focusing on sex education, alcohol, prostitution, abuse and venereal diseases. The employees use creative types of communication and group processes when working with young people, for example theatre, young-to-young dialogue, advice and film.