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“Downside Up Charity Fund” has joined the Agreement of Supporting people with different mental health conditions

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Press conference devoted to the launch of World Autism Awareness Month has been held in Moscow. The event was attended by a number of heads of foundations supporting people with different mental health conditions, particularly Anna Portugalova, Director of the “Downside Up Charity Fund”, Lubov Arkus (“Solution in Saint Petersburg”, “Anton is nearby”), Natalia Vodianova (“Naked Heart Foundation”), Natalia Zlobina (“Solution in Belgorod”), Ivan Rozhansky (“Life Way”), Avdotia Smirnova (“Solution”).

The main result of the joint meeting is signing of the Cooperation Agreement which will allow better involving government and society in solving problems of people with mental disabilities.

Anna Portugalova, Director of the “Downside Up Charity Fund”: «It is very important for us. We appreciate a lot our colleagues’ work, and we are very glad to be partners. Our foundations have similar difficulties, common goals, and the shared audience – people with different health conditions yet with equal rights for good life. Every foundation has accumulated a vast work experience; we have much to share with each other. We are signing the Agreement to consolidate our efforts in overcoming difficulties that occur in lives of people under our care, and in creating new opportunities for them. Each of us is speaking about importance of supporting people with mental disabilities, but until now we were on our own. From now on, our many voices will merge into one which will be stronger, more confident and powerful, and which will allow us to communicate our vision of the situation, our suggestions and solutions. It’s great that we have become mature enough to do it together. The next step is to meet and discuss particular joint actions.

Among main principles of the joint work the participants marked: creating sustainable schemes that could be implemented together with government bodies (executive authorities) and their subordinate education, health care, social care, culture and sport bodies; working out set of help measures that would be provided to people with mental health conditions during their lifetime; learning world’s best practice proved by researches; reforming psychoneurological foster institutions; raising society awareness; creating the Ethic Code.

Tatiana Nechaeva, Director of the Family Support Centre, “Downside Up Charity Fund”: «Signing the Agreement is a very important step for all participants. I think that the moment is very appropriate, not just because April is the Autism Awareness Month. Down syndrome, autism, other mental health conditions have been talked about before. But now the question is being asked more often: what next? This issue is being discussed very widely at all levels: non-profit organizations, society, and government. It’s very important that every Agreement participant is using real experience in his/her work. This is worth of respect and trust.

One more important point. Now we are speaking about people with Down syndrome, autism, other mental health conditions. But we should speak and think wider – how to help and support people in any situation and condition. There are older people, people suffering from Alzheimer disease, etc. Each of us can be concerned, now or in future. It would be better if changes are powered by the society’s attitude. The more foundations that really help, the better. Out Agreement declares that non-profit organizations have valuable experience and knowledge, and can be equal partners of the government and part of people support system, as it happens all over the world”