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New support programme for young people with severe mental disorders finishing their treatment at the Acompanya’m unit

29 April 2024
Mental health patient at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

This initiative helps patients who cannot return to live with their families by temporarily providing them with an assisted living apartment.

The SJD Barcelona Children Hospital,  Suara , and the  University of Vic have launched a new community support programme. It is aimed at young people with highly complex mental health disorders who have undergone intensive, multidisciplinary treatment at the Unitat Terapèutica Educativa Residencial [Residential Educational Therapy Centre] (UTER) Acompanya’m, and who, upon finishing treatment, are unable to return home with their family or are not sufficiently independent to look after themselves.    

These young people, who often have social and familial problems that have brought them under the tutelage of the Generalitat de Catalunya, temporarily live in an assisted living apartment, where they receive specialised care and companionship from teachers and professionals with experience in mental health. The Post-acompanya’m project completes the existing portfolio of programmes for transitioning to adult life and gaining personal independence, and is intended to combat the lack of services of this type for young people over the age of 18 with specific needs and increased vulnerability.    

This communal support initiative to help young people with severe mental health problems make a sustainable transition to adult life fulfils one of the most highlighted recommendations from various studies about the emancipation of young people previously in care: extended support past the age of 18 in a dedicated programme. Offering a stable place to live and support and companionship from professionals reduces the stress associated with the uncertainty of the future in these young people, empowering them and encouraging them to achieve realistic goals.   

The Post-acompanya’m project, receiving €329,295 of funding from the NextGeneration EU Fund, also hopes to carry out a study to assess the impact of the programme on 15 young people. Until now, three young people have benefitted from this new resource for transitioning to adult life.  

A project that continues the work of Acompanya’m 

The creation of this community support programme helps continue the work that the Residential Educational Therapy Centre (UTER) Acompanya’m has been doing since 2018. Acompanya’m is the first residential and educational therapy unit in Spain for children and young people with severe mental health disorders. It has 30 places and offers a pioneering intervention model, applicable to every area of the child or adolescent's life.  

Between April 2018 and 31 December 2022, staff at Acompanya’m attended a total of 110 infants and adolescents, with an average stay of 13 months, and a total of 88 clinical discharges.