Associazione Frantz Fanon (AFF), one of the partners working in the COMET project, is an independent association founded in Turin in 1997. It brings together professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, cultural mediators, educators and cultural anthropologists, who focus on migrants’ mental health. This association provides clinical mental care, psychological support and psychotherapy for individuals and families with migrant backgrounds. Their method is ethnopsychiatry which is an approach where medical and psychological knowledge meet and is enriched by anthropological and historical expertise.
Elena Comandé, a psychologist, explains that psychological support is free of charge and lasts without a predefined ending as long as it is necessary for the patient to continue. The association also carries out various projects at the city, regional and national levels such as trainings, research, and supervision of teams working with migrants. There are also ongoing partnerships with different local health authorities as well as with other social organisations.
Associazione Frantz Fanon collaborates on a regular basis with another partner at COMET, Mosaico, actions for refugees, which is specialized in cultural mediation and allows for more complementary teamwork
Specifically, within the Comet project, AFF focuses on post-arrival measures: it facilitates contact and organisation between host communities and beneficiaries who are welcomed in different European countries through humanitarian corridors.
Thematic group meetings are formulated according to the needs of the different actors. For example, some of the issues discussed include: the expectations of the beneficiaries upon or on arrival, characteristics of the reception project, dynamics of the project, and selection of the beneficiaries. But also, the redefinition of the roles of all the of all those involved, for instance the expectations of the host community and workers.
Part of this discussion is also on how to keep up with the continuous changes of the local asylum policies, which have a serious impact on the implementation of the projects.
Although they start from a similar place every activity is tailor-made as the organisations involved have different backgrounds, they are located in different European countries with different migration policies, and even the availability of operators or the needs of the communities involved may vary.
The broader aim is to rethink better ways to receive both the beneficiaries and the operators, and to make both parties as active as possible within this process.
From a practical point of view, the common starting point of every activity is the initial preparatory meeting where professionals from the Associazione Frantz Fanon and Mosaico meet with operators from f the host communities in order to find out their needs and objectives.
At a later stage and after an internal discussion, we make a project proposal aiming to respond to the issues that emerged during the initial meeting. It may consist of actual discussion groups on specific themes, or another type of path if it is more appropriate.
There is a team dedicated to each project, which generally include a clinical reference figure and a notetaker who are provided by the Frantz Fanon association and a cultural mediator provided by Mosaico.