ŠENT is a non-profit association providing mental health services in the community at 39 locations in Slovenia. Its services enable people suffering from mental illness to break out of the vicious circle of repeated hospitalisation, and gain the skills and knowledge need to live an independent and self-sufficient life.
The association was founded in 1993 and is recognised as a humanitarian organisation by the Slovenian government. It now operates:
- day centres: these offer users, free of charge and across the country, the opportunity to improve their social skills and learn to take responsibility for their own lives, through taking part in group work and activities in the community, as well as individual information and counselling;
- residential groups: these offer adults occasional or long-term tailor-made assistance to support independent living;
- drug abuse reduction programmes to reduce social and health damage from drug use;
- employment and rehabilitation programmes: these carry out work integration, preserving and developing skills and enabling economic independence. The activities are incorporated as social enterprises, and profit made from them is ploughed back into creating new jobs;
- human rights protection and advocacy programmes: these use peer advocacy to advise individuals and groups on how to exercise their rights. They also help to develop new legislation;
- events such as round tables, conferences, festivals and expert consultations at local, national and international levels, to reduce the stigma of mental illness;
- development projects in mental health, social care, employment and drug dependence.
The association employs 292 people, of whom 153 are registered as disabled. Its annual turnover is €6 million.