Hashtag protest action for mentally ill people

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Protest against discrimination against the mentally ill

For a few days now, people on Twitter at #isjairre have been drawing attention to the discrimination of the mentally ill. The protest action is particularly important against the background of the increasing rejection of the mentally ill.

Discriminators are insane Since Wednesday, a number of users on Twitter have shared their bad experiences in dealing with mental suffering under the hashtag "isjairre". The initiators want to show that it is not the mentally ill who are insane, but those who discriminate because of their illness. Those affected address their everyday lives with depression, burnout, trauma and other mental disorders. How controversial the topic is in Germany can be seen, among other things, from the fact that "isjairre" was already in second place on the German trending topics after a few hours on Twitter.

Similar debates on sexism and racism The current debate is reminiscent of similar predecessors such as "outcry" and "look", among which tweeting about sexism and racism in everyday life for months. The action was initiated by 21-year-old Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, who herself is affected by a mental illness. The student of media and cultural studies, under her username @Sassyheng, raised the question of whether there was a need for a hashtag on discrimination against mentally ill people. “The response was very high, so we looked for the right term. The idea was to choose a word that actually has a negative connotation, but is used colloquially in everyday life. We came up with "crazy", says Yaghoobifarah.

Dealing more openly in Sweden Even though the 21-year-old, who is studying in Freiburg, is currently in Sweden for a semester abroad, the tweets should still be in German. She says: “In every country, people deal with mental disorders differently. In Sweden, for example, I see that the topic is less taboo and that people are more open. "They did not expect the great response from those affected and referred to the positive effect of the action on Twitter:" The advantage of a uniform hashtag on the topic is that you can search for the topic in a targeted manner and that the problems are made visible in a collective form. "

Mental illnesses are not a marginal phenomenon Even though media and those affected nowadays deal with mental illnesses much more broadly than just a few years ago, many people do not know what it means to be mentally ill. Not only the patients themselves, but often enough also their relatives, therefore have to repeatedly defend themselves against stigmatization. And that although such diseases are by no means a marginal phenomenon. According to the health insurance company DAK, every eighth sick leave is based on mental disorders. This is an increase of 74 percent since 2006. In addition, reports from the German Pension Insurance would show that more than four out of ten people who retire early state mental illness as reasons. The costs are also increasing continuously. In Germany, for example, spending on mental illnesses and behavioral disorders amounts to more than 28 billion euros a year - about ten percent of the annual health costs.

Inacceptance and Discrimination With "isjairre", Yaghoobifarah wants to contribute to creating more sensitivity to the issue of discrimination against those affected, for example when it comes to language use: "Many people are not even aware that their language is derogatory when they say" This is completely insane ! ”Or“ That is totally sick! ”In their tweets, users share what experiences they had to have with unacceptability and discrimination or report unpleasant scenes when buying medication. Attention is also drawn to the fact that there are problems with the care of the mentally ill, for example due to scarce therapy places.

Rejection has gotten worse Shortly after the hashtag was launched, the first users abused it and made fun of mental disorders. Malicious accusations are not missing either. The initiator also said: "And there are indeed Twitterers to scold those concerned - again - hunger for attention." The author of the book Stigma mental illness and founding member of the German Society for Social Psychiatry, Asmus Finzen, also refers to this Importance of the topic: "The stigmatization of those affected is a very central problem." He even sees a deterioration in dealing with the sick: "Despite large campaigns, the rejection is worse than it was twenty years ago."

Friendship with sick people inconceivable A German team of researchers carried out a representative study of people's attitudes towards the mentally ill in 1990 and repeated it in 2011. As Finzen writes in the current issue of the Psychosocial Review, one result was that “While in 1990 almost a fifth of those surveyed did not want to tolerate schizophrenia patients as neighbors, in 2011 it was almost a third. It was no different at work. While in 1990 two fifths could not imagine being friends with a psychotic, in 2011 it was more than half. ”He said that campaigns like #isjairre were all the more important.

Protest from society The doctor also said: "It remains to be seen how this exciting campaign will develop." The campaign is promising in any case, since it was initiated from below. "Major campaigns are fundamentally wrong that they can change society," said Finzen. But since the protest comes from society itself, it would have more substance. Yaghoobifarah explained about "isjairre": "It is about the visualization and the subject of oppression - on the part of those affected." (Ad)

Image: Alexander Klaus / pixelio.de

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Video: I have a mental illness, let me die - BBC Stories

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