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People in Street Situation and Affected by Mental Illness in São Paulo

We are a team work of people who have mental illness that aim to combat stigma

Photo of José Orsi
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Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

One dream that has been matured for some time ago, to be materialized maybe in a long term, besides all other projects engaged by ABRE (Brazilian Schizophrenia Association) now, is as follows: it is well known that the homeless population in our home city, São Paulo, is huge, reaching more than 20,000 people, and a substantial number of them has mental illness. The fact is: they end up in the streets because they have mental illness, or they are affected by mental illness because they are in the streets, which is aggravated by the misuse of alcohol and illegal drugs. And there is the latent fear among me and our peers that, in case of losing family support, we may also end up at the streets, and this worry is always present at users group discussions. Aiming to structure in São Paulo something like the Recovery College, present in several developed countries, and, beyond the people attended by ABRE, we have the moral and civic duty of helping those ones who didn´t have the privilege of having a social network that our NGO provides. At this moment, this dream is just a romantic ambition, but as in the movie “Angels in the Outfield”, “if we build it, they will come…”

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

People in street situation and who have mental illness, in São Paulo, Brazil

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Usually, public and government policies to help homeless people deal with this problem using a top down approach. Our idea is to get together, side by side, in a synergetic way

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

ABRE is a Brazilian Organization which aims to inform, educate, combat the stigma and struggle for rights of people who have schizophrenia

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Working with people who have mental illness, and being myself, as well as my father and his mother people who suffer from schizophrenia, and I am very sensible to mental health causes, and I also feel to have a moral duty to help people who have mental illness, and do not have the social and economic privilegy to get the clinical and social recovery of this situation

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Nowdays, the global society is facing huge transformations due to technologic and international free market trends. In this way, everyone is affected by stress, and may face mental illness such as depression or other more severe happenings

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The organized civil society may join us to achieve the sinergetic approach to deal the huge social problem in the streets in São Paulo

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

São Paulo is a hub city, and has several social projects and a engaged people and inhabitants who are willing to help each other in a fraternal way

Geographic Focus

The city of São Paulo, Brazil

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

At least 36 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi José Orsi great to have you in the Challenge and tackling a topic that impacts so many cities around the world. There's a couple interesting resources that might be worth checking out for inspiration if you haven't already, the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health seems to be doing some cool work in cities:, City Lab also had an interesting piece: Last, here's one of my favorite new magazines that's focused on de-stigmatizing mental health using the power of design:

I am curious, where you draw your inspiration for your model and program ideas?

Photo of José Orsi

Hello Ashley, thanks a lot for you suggestions... I will read carefully the texts and articles from the links you sent me. By the way, where are you from? Do you have any experience in mental health and population in street situation? Hope to hear from you soon & best wishes! José