The JAEC Newsletter: March 2021

JAEC dedicates this Newsletter to Dr. Birgitta Alakare, who passed away on February 19, 2021.


Spring: Rebirth.

Since our last message, the image of the world has not changed much. It has now been a year since we learned to live with the pandemic, the effects of which are devastating for our physical health and very especially for our mental health.

An international alignment has taken hold of the world. People are trying to hang on to hope and wisdom in the face of the risk-management tactics (isolations, lockdowns, testing, vaccination) developed by the world’s governing forces facing a little-known virus. And it still seems we are not going to be coming out of it soon.

From its initial phase, one of the main projects of the JAEC Foundation was to support and promote Open Dialogue.

Referred to by the WHO as a mental health approach aligned with Human Rights, for the past 40 years, Finland, where Open Dialogue originated, has had the best outcomes in the Western World in the treatment of psychosis.

In this spirit, we are very proud to submit the candidacy of Dr. Birgitta Alakare, the former Chief Psychiatrist of Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland, for the Geneva Prize for Human Rights in Psychiatry 2021.

We are also very sad to announce that Dr. Alakare passed away a few weeks ago. The words of her colleague and friend, Dr. Sandy Steingard, illustrate the way of being and working of Birgitta:
While those who do not have the power are still able to impose themselves, change is greatly facilitated when those in power are willing to open doors. Birgitta Alakare has exemplified this principle to a great extent […] She has been a pioneer in the development of open dialogue, an accomplished physician and family therapist. She was admired and loved by many who worked and learned from her.

Birgitta Alakare will be greatly missed.

On a completely different note, the health situation forces us to rethink specific ways of doing things, and we have therefore enlarged our panel of online groups by integrating the following groups:
Online Conversations: Tapering & Other Topics (English) with Olga Runciman and Red de Dialogo Abierto en Linea (Spanish) with Enric Torrents.

These online meetings promote the exchange of information and offer support to both concerned professionals and psychiatry clients.

Among the significant projects of JAEC for this year, 2021, we are building a 4-day course of introduction to Open Dialogue. Several institutions, foundations, and established professionals are interested in this innovative and little-known approach in French-speaking Switzerland. As soon as the program is ready, we will present it to the concerned authorities to launch this training.

To conclude, it gives us great pleasure to announce that the JAEC Team will be expanding and that as of April 2021, we will count on an in-house psychologist. It will help us accomplish even more projects and activities related to our mission.

We wish you a bright and joyful beginning of spring!