“I was first introduced to the therapy program at JADE in 2010. I was in my first year of college in Geneva. Yet due to personal problems caused by my illness, I had to stop going to school.”
The JADE project is about fostering and facilitating the integration of young people with mental disorders into society and the workforce as trained professionals. Participants in the program are guided in the creation of a life plan by identifying talents or a field of interest and are encouraged to complete their education and/or get vocational training. Early integration has proven to be a key ingredient for successful development and the rehabilitation process.
Vladimir (real name withheld) is a 24-year-old student from Russia. He suffers from psychosis, a serious mental disorder which forced him to cut short his studies. He finished his mandatory school years in Spain before arriving in Switzerland. “I quit studying because I didn’t have the strength or desire to leave the house. I was tired and my problem kept getting worse every day. In Geneva things are much different than in the other countries. At first, trying to fit in seemed impossible. Then someone told me about JADE. There I hoped I’d find someone to guide me and help me get well, to assist me with my studies or even to find a job. That’s when I felt I could have another chance.”
From illness to self-confidence
Vladimir, like other participants in the JADE program, has regained faith in himself and the outside world. The program includes daily therapeutic group activities, as well as weekly psychological, pharmaceutical, and family therapy. Together with the professional Coach, Vladimir was able to get back to his studies and get a professional qualification.
At a certain point during treatment, participants feel the urge to head outside and meet people, make friends others than the ones they have made among their peers. “Today I see that there are people out there who want to help me, and that there are also people who like me,” he explains. “The community is not as cold as it seems, and people who have problems can take care of themselves. Now I’m much more confident about myself.”
In some cases, this desire can turn into anxiety, creating stress that participants might not know how to cope with. “Little by little I was able to develop close friendships with people here and also outside JADE,” Vladimir says satisfied, “JADE helps you a lot. I spent a year here. Near the end, my biggest desire was to leave this place, to go discover the world outside and to live new experiences.”
Early integration is a key ingredient to successful development and rehabilitation processes.