Why do people fight physically

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

10.10.2017

The stigma of mental illness in society

Despite all the education, people with mental illness still struggle with the consequences of stigmatization. The fear of rejection and exclusion is an enormous burden for them, which can also have a negative effect on the course of the disease.

It can affect anyone: Whether depression, anxiety disorder, dementia or post-traumatic stress disorder - in Germany almost every third adult suffers from a mental illness within a year. But even if the social picture changes step by step, those affected and their relatives are still stigmatized in many places. At the World Congress of Psychiatry, experts are therefore discussing today with the doctor, cabaret artist and TV presenter Eckart von Hirschhausen how integration and inclusion can succeed.

In their presence they are talked about derogatory, they are considered unpredictable, friends break off contact, work colleagues withdraw. Despite all the education, people with mental illness still struggle with the consequences of stigmatization. The fear of rejection and exclusion is an enormous burden for them, which can also have a negative effect on the course of the disease. In addition, there is the fear of seeking help, because people with mental illnesses do not quite fit into the image of our performance society despite important progress. Here, the media play a role that should not be underestimated: clich├ęs are often continued to serve in favor of audience ratings and editions and complex problems are condensed into attention-grabbing messages. At the same time, differentiated reporting threatens to be drowned in the flood of offers. A rethinking can already be observed in many places, but there is still a long way to go until the society as a whole participates and integrates those affected and their relatives in all areas of life.

As part of the World Congress of Psychiatry, international experts shed light on successful examples of the inclusion of mentally ill people and their relatives in society and in medical care. Above all, the recovery concept, which actively includes so-called peers - those affected who have already overcome their mental illness - in the treatment, has gained further importance internationally in recent years. Through the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD), the inclusion of people with lived experience is now required by law at all planning and decision-making levels. International research results on trialogue work underline the importance of equal communication between experts, those affected and their families for recovery on the one hand and destigmatization on the other. The more people talk about mental illnesses, the more the way is paved for people with mental illnesses to be integrated in the long term and to be able to participate equally in society.

The subject of work is of particular importance. Especially people with severe mental illnesses have great difficulties finding a job in the primary labor market. The positive effects of work on the course of the disease have been scientifically proven. Regular employment structures everyday life, enables affiliation and brings an income. At the World Congress of Psychiatry, the DGPPN is therefore also presenting a new edition of the participation compass launched in 2016. This should help to initiate professional integration right at the beginning of treatment. The first edition was sold out within a very short time last year. A current version now follows, which takes into account the introduction of the Federal Participation Act. At the same time, the internet portal www.teilhabekompass.de was updated.

Source: DGPPN press release