“THE DIFFERENT ONES?” Festival of Mental Health Rehabilitation Programmes in Russia


The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 mental health disorders will be among the top five human illnesses.
The social rehabilitation of people with mental health problems is an important step in their return to a normal existence. The specific features of a given illness and the individual’s requirements must be taken into account in developing a rehabilitation programme. This approach makes it possible to help people with mental health problems to be socialized significantly enhancing the likelihood of complete recovery and a return to normality.

Social rehabilitation plays a key role in socializing people with mental health problems by giving them access to social security, education, culture and physical fitness services and by enabling them to acquire a variety of work-related skills. The provision of these services is possible thanks to an interdisciplinary team comprised of medical specialist, social experts and volunteers, including students in higher education, vocational and technical training, who are motivated by the desire to put their studies to practical use, boost their social status and obtain professional skills for future employment.
The rehabilitation system provides also an arena for the broad-based application of mechanisms for collaboration between mental health facilities and business, that includes the public-private partnership (PPP) model; the charitable aid model, where organizations may take part in rehabilitation measures by offering goods and services free of charge; service to service model where business can receive mental disorders prevention services from the mental hospitals.
Implementing rehabilitation programmes that are rooted in charity and kindness and the principle of tolerance for those who are essentially other or “different” will not only facilitate an improved quality of life for people with mental health issues but will further the development of society and its spiritual and ethical growth. Developing social ties between medical facilities and representatives of the professional and civic communities as well as greater public awareness of the nature of mental illness will enable more effective preventive work to protect the mental health of the population.

To address this situation the Union for Mental Health organized “The Different Ones?” Festival for facilitating improvements in the health and quality of life of people with mental health problems, including the patients of psychiatric hospitals in Moscow and Moscow Region, promoting more effective student education rooted in charity and kindness and the tolerance of people with mental health problems and helping make today’s society more humane. 

The Festival took place on 9 October 2015 on the World Mental Health Day eve under the auspices:

    • Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation
    • Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
    • Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the Russian Federation
    • Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

Welcome speech. Natalya V. Treushnikova, President of the Union for Mental Health

 Under the Festival were announced two contest: 

  • The contest for students-volunteers to the best rehabilitation programmes
  • The contest for businesses to be named a socially-responsible company in the area of mental health rehabilitation

“The Different Ones?” Festival embraced a range of rehabilitation program themes and trends:

  • Education and consulting in various areas of life (case-managers) (Social security and legal assistance services: help in applying for pensions, housing benefits, employment benefits or in job seeking etc.);
  • Culture therapy, art-therapy (Providing access to art and music lessons; participation in theatrical performances).
  • Physical culture (Providing access to physical education classes).
  • Occupational therapy (Practical classes in cookery, landscape design, etc.).
  • Traditions and festivals (Concerts, meet-the-artist sessions, master classes, festivals involving amateur art groups, circus performers, workers in culture, the arts and cinema, along with family members).
  • Psychoeducation (Organizing educational programmes for family members).
  • Information technology (Learning to use a computer, developing social media skills).


More than 300 representatives of state and municipal social security centres in Russia; students in higher and vocational and technical institutions; the managers and staff of psychiatric clinics, medical research establishments and rehabilitation centres; workers in healthcare, culture, the arts, science, education, social security, legal assistance, sport; socially oriented businesses; the media took part in the Festival.

Special guest of the Festival  - Stephen Shore, Ed.D, professor of special education at Adelphi University

The program included presentations by experts in rehabilitation programs from Russia and beyond; master classes by leading figures in culture, the arts and physical fitness; performances of the theatrical groups, and a rehabilitation programs fair of arts & crafts.

The actors ot the Integrated Theatre"Krug II"

Tatyana Lubimova, the leader of the cannes-group "The Sunny Dog" with the Golden Retriever

The unique band "Without notes"

Tthe Award Ceremony of the winners of the best students-volunteers’ and businesses’ rehabilitation programs.


20 volunters received financial encouragement in the form of charitable donations and their rehabilitation programms were recommended
for use in the rehabilitation system of mental health facilities in Russia

The best rehabilitation programms of the businesses were honored and were recommended 
for use in the rehabilitation system of mental health facilities in Russia

The Festival Gallery