by Adi Hasanbašić
As in any living organism, involving people, their needs and capacities, our groups were opened, closed and reopened again in several cities in the Czech Republic. In the time of writing this, we have active groups, as part of National Hearing Voices network, in Prague (two groups), Brno (two groups), Strakonice, Hradec Kralove, Havlíčkův Brod, online group for Czech Republic and Slovakia. Two groups were closed (in Opava and Plzeň). Another two groups are planning to be opened in Prague and Pardubice.
In the 2019 first groups in Plzen and Opava was established, but after year or so, they were closed for lacking of facilitators and other people who will organize the groups. The need for such groups is still present in these areas.
More on: http://www.slysenihlasu.cz
National Hearing Voices Network
In 2018/2019, Hearing Voices groups were spreading across Czech Republic. In order to support each other and support local groups, there was a need to have National meetings. Initial meeting was held in Prague in February of 2019 with participant from Plzeň, Prague, Brno, Hradec Kralove (and Pardubice region). Later on, we had participants from Opava, Strakonice and Havlíčkův Brod. Our national meetings had an aim to support local groups, to identify obstacles that groups are facing, to identify local specifics in each region, to organize educations, lectures, and workshops but also to learn and inspire each other.
We are very grateful for help and support from other organizations that recognized our work, Like our friends from Narativ Brno, Fokus Praha, Fokus Pisek/Strakonice, PDZ, Dobre Misto, Fokus Vysocina, Studio 27, Greendoors and others.
In 2021, we finally registered national NGO Slyšení hlasů with the address in Dolakova 24, in Prague. Anyone who is interested in this topic and wants to support us in any way possible can become a member of our NGO.
One of the biggest projects of the National network and NGO is organizing the first Hearing Voices conference in the Czech republic, which will be held in October 2021 in Prague in historical venue of Staroměstská Radnice. Conference is primarily focused on the Czech experence. However, at the same time it will be international, as we will have speakers from different countries who are working with this approach for more then 30 years, like Paul Baker (community worker), Dirk Corstens (psychiatrist) and Rai Waddingham (voice hearer and Open Dialogue practitioner). We see them as inspiration for what we are trying to do in the Czech context. Conference will introduce mental health professionals, voice hearers and their families from Czech Republic, their understanding of this phenomenon, stories of recoveries, history of Hearing Voices in the Czech republic, current situation and plans for the future. Conference will also introduce topics relevant for Czech Republic and reform of mental health like hearing voices in children, Open Dialogue and hearing voices, position of Hearing Voice approach within community mental health and practical work with voice hearers.
More on: https://konferenceslysenihlasu.cz
Important aspect of Hearing Voices approach, as relatively new approach in Czech context, is need for continual education, workshops and literature. Our National network organized several workshops and lectures in different cities in the Czech Republic with local and international lectors. One of the most significant happened in 2019, when we organized series of workshops with psychiatrist Dirk Corstens (Holland), and Rai Waddingham (UK) in the Psychiatric hospital Bohnice (with help of Fokus Praha, PN Bohnice and Greendoors).
Most active organization, prior to National network was established, was Fokus Praha organizing several mainly practical workshops, for community mental health professionals, with Peter Bullimore and Shaun Hunt and Peter Bullimore and Kate Crawford. It is important to mention workshops organized by Narative Brno, mainly one with Lisa Forestell (American voice hearer and former president of Intervoice) but also efforts of Veronika Šuráňová – Klempová in Brno.