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This publication is a result of an international research project which took place from 2012-2014. Among the participators were four universities, number of service providers, NGOs and people with psychiatric and learning disabilities from Amersfoort and Maastricht in the Netherlands, Budapest in Hungary and Tallinn in Estonia.
The aim of the project was to explore the wishes and needs of persons with psychiatric or learning difficulties with regard to community participation, and how services could be (more) supportive in order to meet these needs. We also looked at local policies, especially from the perspective of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
From the research we learn that regardless of the country where people live, persons with disabilities have similar struggles to cope with vulnerability and deprivation. They also share the same desires as any other human being: the wish to live a good and valued life, to have meaningful activities and to belong to a social community.
The stories in this book were selected from the interviews which were conducted by researchers during the project. The portraits illustrate experiences of illness, disability and recovery. They also reflect experiences of using social- and mental health services, exclusion and inclusion. By reading these stories we see, how multifaceted life can be, and what are the challenges towards the real participation in community. Many thanks to Heli, Anneli, Oliver, Janine, Jan Cees, Gyula and Judit for sharing their stories!