The impact of Social and Community Mediation, an innovative social work model in the field of addictive behaviours and dependencies in Portugal
Background: The knowledge of the importance of intervention in the reintegration of people with addictive behaviours and dependencies (ABD), combined with the complexity of the process and the multiplicity of associated factors, has motivated a study developed through a interinstitutional collaboration of seven public entities, linking the academy to entities that intervene in the field of ABD. The objective of the research was to identify procedures and results associated with the process of social and community mediation in the reintegration of people with ABD, as well as the perceptions of the different actors involved (social workers, citizens with ABD, families, and public/private institutions).
Methods: This qualitative research was carried out according to a mixed case study plan (multi-case and multi-perspective), which involved social workers, people with ABD, families, and other stakeholders, in a total of 18 cases, 51 interviews and 21 questionnaires. It has a national scope and combines the descriptive component with the analytical and reflective component.
Results: Besides other results, the research allowed to deepen knowledge on the mapping of processes and strategies used by social workers, as well as on the analysis of the impacts perceived by the interviewees. Using schemes and figures, and crossing descriptive and analytical data, this paper will explore significant changes in diverse scope such as the individual, interpersonal, therapeutic, social, family, institutional, and labour.
Conclusions: The intervention of social workers produced effects, generated changes and modified behaviours, transforming various dimensions of the lives of citizens with ABD studied within the scope of this investigation. These results demonstrate the high efficiency of the delivered interventions, that allowed to modify the fragile conditions of the citizens with ABD.