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May 26 2021




Zsolt Bugarski, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work; Tallinn University in Estonia

Traditionally we prefer full or part time employment as an outcome of vocational rehabilitation in mental health care. Employment provides clients with a stable job position, preferably connected with health insurance or pension related benefits, access to the social security system, paid holidays and well-regulated working conditions. On the other hand, entrepreneurship and any kind of business activities are considered as unstable, stressful adventures with no fix income and benefits that doesn't fit vulnerable people.

In a rapidly changing economic landscape we need to take into consideration that the preferred stable employment opportunities are vanishing. Digitalization, automatization, robotics and the advancement of artificial intelligence are challenging not only traditional blue-collar jobs but also, white-collar ones. Entrepreneurial skills, creativity and enormous flexibility are needed on the future labour market, and we need to embrace these new requirements in vocational rehabilitation, too.

I would like to argue that technology and new economic models can also be very enabling opening a new horizon for vulnerable people in a transforming labour market. Bringing examples from successful initiatives

Target audience: Mental health professionals, vocational rehabilitation experts, peer support workers, managers, civil servants, researchers.

Learning outcomes:

  1. To enhance knowledge on future tendencies on the labour market
  2. To give a new perspective to entrepreneurship
  3. To explore opportunities and obstacles related to user-led entrepreneurial activities in mental health care in Ontario


digital-eye2 [1)

Assistive technology includes assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices for vulnerable people and also includes the process used in selecting, locating and using them. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a term that stresses the role of the integration of telecommunications, computers, enterprise software, databases and audio-visual systems which enable users to access, store, transmit and generate information.

There is an increasing interest to connect assistive technology and ICT based solutions with the welfare system. First instances arrived in medical administration and management, assistive technology became relevant in elderly care and disability care but nowadays we see a growing presence of technology in mental health care, too. Popular applications to promote mindfulness, robot pets to maintain social bond, virtual reality (VR) based technology to treat fear and phobia, shared welfare initiatives to increase peer-to-peer support are just a few examples of this emerging field.

In my workshop I want to demonstrate the potential of assistive technology in mental health care arguing for a conscious development strategy to embrace innovation.

Target audience: Mental health professionals, peer support workers, managers, tech-experts, civil servants, researchers

Learning outcomes:

  1. To enhance knowledge on modern technology and its possible relation to mental health care
  2. To get inspired by creative ideas
  3. To explore opportunities and obstacles related to assistive technology in mental health care in Ontario

Any questions please contact:


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