eFkropka Foundation is a NGO, created by a group of professionals engaged in treatment of and therapeutic help for mentally ill. We strive for changing both: the negative perception of mental illnesses perpetuated in public opinion, and beliefs the mentally ill people have of themselves. We try to create and engage in many multi-dimensional therapeutic and educative activities.
We co-opt people who have suffered from some form of a mental health crisis, which have made them “experts by experience”. These EX-INs, peer-experts, or peer-supporters are fully involved in the activities of eF Kropka Foundation. They are also appointed to Foundation’s board of management.
Our projects include:
Razem w Kuchni (Together in the Kitchen)
The program of professional internships in cooperation with prominent restaurants in Warsaw. The beneficiaries, people with experience of mental crisis, being supported and supervised by restaurant staff, upskill in gastronomic professions. On one hand professionals can get to know people with mental illness better and on the other interns can regain their self-confidence, social skills which may help in taking up a job and various social roles.
We are in the process of creating Social Cooperative Efka – a catering business where trainees could be employed.
Razem wbrew stereotypom (Together Against Stereotypes)
The educational project implemented with “experts by experience”. They train representatives of various social groups (clerks, students, police officers, health sector workers, as well as media representatives and many others) on how to understand a person who had a mental health crisis better.
Our Educators, mental health care system users – start to speak out loud on their own behalf and share with public what bothers them the most. Together with health care professionals they lobby for the reform of psychiatric care system, presenting their viewpoint at conferences, the parliamentary meetings, at National Development Council to President of Poland, and at the Ministry of Health.
SOP – Standardy Opieki Psychiatrycznej (Standards of Psychiatric Care) is a initiative, created by one of our educators. We conduct a comprehensive questionnaire survey in order to understand needs of patients, their families and professionals. It will be used to prepare a publication which will prove, that changes in Polish psychiatric care are necessary and create basis on which direction of these changes will be determined.
A self-help integrative group,whichis lead bypeopleafterthecrisis, was established in 2018.They supportotherpatientsontheirpathtohealth,helpon a field ofsocialintegration andreduction ofloneliness.
In summer 2018 and 2019, a team consisting of a few educators and volunteers represented the foundation at the PolAndRock Festival (formerly Woodstock Festival). They held a meeting at the Academy of Fine Arts with a large group of participants (https://polandrockfestival.pl/asp/projekty-asp). The team created eFkropka tent which was frequently visited by the festival guests.
Razem do samodzielności (Together for Self-reliance)
From September 2018 to November 2020 in towns of Mława and Przasnysz we organize meetings and workshops for people with experience of mental illness, their families and for professionals. The aim of the project is to integrate people after mental crisis in their local community, reduce the level of autostigmatization and increase cooperation between users of care system and professionals.
Razem zmieniamy polską psychiatrię – Kongres Zdrowia Psychicznego (Together We Change Polish Psychiatry – Mental Health Congress)
On 8 May 2017, in cooperation with the National Mental Health Protection Programme Initiative, the Polish Psychiatric Society, Warsaw Mayor’s Office and Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, we organized the first Mental Health Congress (www.kongreszp.org.pl).
The Congress was a nationwide event, which gathered different circles of people interested in mental health: self-help groups, health care professionals, beneficiaries of psychiatric services (i.e. patients and their families), employers and representatives of local government. The Congress drew attention to neglected psychiatric care, put pressure on governors so that they introduce necessary systemic reforms. Participants created Warsaw Declaration and delivered it, during March of Dignity, to Ministry of Health as a recommendation of the communities engaged in the reform of the psychiatric care.
Afterwards the Minister of Health made a decision about implementation of a pilotage of the reform – and it is happening now. Mental Health Centers have been established in 28 places in Poland. Currently 10% of the society has easier access to specialists and can benefit from Community Psychiatry.
On May 19, 2018 the March of the Yellow Ribbon was held – a year after the first Congress we went through the streets of Warsaw and reminded of the need to reform the psychiatric care and the presence in public space of people with mental illness, unjustly discriminated. We plan to organize such a march annualy.
The II Mental Health Congress took place on June 3, 2019. Its aim was to monitor the progress of the reform and to lobby extention of it.
#PoGodnySzlak – #CheerfulTrail
On 09-27 August 2020 Kamil Lorenc completed the 500 km Main Beskid Trail #PoGodnySzlak
The action took place for the sake of solidarity with people who had experienced mental crisis and their relatives, and for changes in Polish psychiatry.
Support the #PoGodnySzlak (#CheerfulTrail) campaign
The campaign is organized by the eFkropka Foundation together with Kamil Lorenc, who initiated it.
The purpose of the campaign
The action takes place for the sake of solidarity with people who experienced mental crisis and their relatives, and for changes in Polish psychiatry. Its purpose is also to raise funds for the statutory goals of the eFkropka Foundation.
The campaign will be carried out under the honorary patronage of the Patient’s Rights Ombudsman and the Bureau of the National Mental Health Program.
In Poland, mental illnesses affect 1 million people, including 400,000 suffering from schizophrenia. Every fourth inhabitant of Poland experiences, has experienced or will experience a mental crisis.
We want changes in Polish psychiatry. So that the treatment is not based on isolation in a hospital, but on a community care: close to home, available, without queuing, tailored to a given case and with inclusion of relatives during the process. Such help is available at Mental Health Centers.
The campaign will be accompanied by online meetings (live on Facebook) with specialists and with „Experts by experience” – people with psychiatric diagnoses, who openly share their experiences for greater good. Recordings of the meetings will be available on our YouTube. You can participate in the campaign in various ways, join us on Facebook (in polish): Rusz z nami na #PoGodnySzlak
About Kamil Lorenc (campaign initiator)
33 years old quant, novice motorcyclist and paraglider pilot. Currently, he took up a challenge to complete the 500 km Main Beskid Trail for a noble purpose. Kamil starts on August 9th from Wołosate in the Bieszczady Mountains and plans to finish the hike on August 29th in Ustroń in the Beskidy Mountains.
About the eFkropka Foundation
The eFkropka Foundation was established by professionals involved in the treatment of mentally ill people and therapeutic work for them. People after mental health crises, the so-called experts by experience also play important part in the Foundation’s activities. Currently, there are people with experience of mental crisis on the Foundation’s Council and its Management Board.
The aim of our projects is to change negative perceptions about mental illnesses, beliefs fixed in social consciousness, as well as patient’s thinking about themself. The main mission of the Foundation is to prevent isolation after experiencing mental health issues, counteracting the stigma and breaking stereotypes related to mental illnesses.
Programs carried out by the fundation now:
- Together Against Stereotypes – anti-stigmatization and anti-self-stigmatization workshops, conducted by eFkropka Educators – people with experience of mental crisis,
- Mental Health Congress – Together We Change Polish Psychiatry. The Congress is a nationwide event, which has been taking place every second year since 2017. It gathers different circles of people interested in mental health: self-help groups, health care professionals, beneficiaries of psychiatric services (i.e. patients and their families), employers and representatives of local and national government. Its mission is to promote mental health and prevention, strive for a reform in health care – implementation of modern patient-oriented community psychiatry approach, fight stigmatisation of people seeking mental health care and create place where self-help movements can share their experience.
We would like to invite you to the III Mental Health Congress, which is planned to take place in Warsaw on the 7th of June
- March of the Yellow Ribbon – March of solidarity with people experiencing a mental crisis,
- Self-help integration group – a support group for people with experience of mental crisis,
- Together For Self-reliance – We run support groups for people experiencing mental crises and their families,
- Together in the Kitchen– together with the restaurateurs Agnieszka and Marcin Kręglicki we conduct professional internships.
- We educate in different ways, About stigma and overcoming it, How is it to live with bipolar disorder? Does the diagnosis of schizophrenia take everything away from us? Who is a Recovery Assistant? What is community psychiatry?
What will we do with collected funds?
If we reach the target:
With your support, we will be able to conduct more anti-stigma workshops „Together Against Stereotypes” for the professions who have contact with people with psychiatric diagnoses, including officials, policemen etc. We want to reach smaller towns with our workshops, where the phenomenon of stigma is much greater and access to this type of education is smaller. Depending on the collected funds, we would like to buy equipment needed to conduct the workshops, because we currently use private laptops, borrowed projectors, etc.
If we exceed the target, we are dreaming about:
– the organization of the second day of the Mental Health Congress in 2021 focused entirely on the difficult situation of psychiatry of children and adolescents. Congress is a grassroots movement, does not have a permanent source of funding and additionally the pandemic makes it difficult to raise funds required,
– creating a social cooperative, a worthy workplace for people with experience of mental crisis. We plan to start a catering company and a café, where in addition to good coffee, everyone could talk about various aspects of mental health, attend workshops and various activities,
– translation and publication of the book „Don’t Call Me Nuts” written by psychiatrist and psychologist Patrick Corrigan and the Chicago Tribune reporter Robert Lundin, who has been living with schizoaffective disorder for many years. „Don’t Call Me Nuts” is a very valuable „recovery manual”. We have the authors’ consent to issue 2,000 free copies for patients and their relatives,
Our dreams can come true We believe in it, but their implementation is associated with huge costs. Therefore, we ask you to support our workshop activities and keep your fingers crossed for Kamil and making our dreams come true.
Foundation President: Jerzy Kłoskowski
Management Board Members: Anna Olearczuk, Krzysztof Rogowski