Working Together Responsibly: An evaluation research of FARE’s program on mental illness

Silvia Clementi

«Fare Assieme Responsabilmente (FARE)», Italian for «Working Together Responsibly», is an innovative program of the Department of Mental Health of Trento aimed at promoting a positive culture of mental health and working towards reducing the stigma and fear surrounding mental illness. The program’s recovery approach conducts training sessions based on the premise that «problematic» people can be valorised (or validated) by redefining their challenges. In the FARE program, life knowledge of mental illness service users, family members, and general citizens is combined with life knowledge of mental health professionals. Attendees of FARE were encouraged to consider mental health service users or those suffering with mental illness as «experts by experience» based on their own life experiences. Participants were encouraged to learn from the experts by experience, and by using this approach, the gap between learners and educators could be overcome. Mental illness sufferers’ involvement as «experts by experience» occurred through several stages, from planning to realization of training sessions. A two-step evaluation of FARE was conducted to identify positive and negative aspects for future editions. First, data were collected via ad hoc surveys with all participants. Participants were then divided into four focus groups—participants, speakers, expert service users, and FARE session organizers. Two important findings emerged after analysis:


Mental Health, Recovery, Evaluation, Working Responsibly Together, Relational Paradigm