How does religion explain mental illness

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy


Discrimination and stigma promote mental illness in a variety of ways

Equality is a human right that everyone is entitled to in everyday life. Discrimination and exclusion violate human rights and can lead to significant mental health problems and disadvantages if they have a say in the everyday life of individuals.

Equality is a human right that everyone is entitled to in everyday life. Discrimination and exclusion violate human rights and can lead to significant mental health problems and disadvantages if they have a say in the everyday life of individuals. The forms of discrimination based on origin, appearance, religion and belief, gender or sexual identity as well as age, disability or illness are diverse and do not always come to light. They range from the attribution of stereotypes and prejudices to structural disadvantages and open conflicts with psychological or physical violence. "Discrimination is a form of social exclusion and an obstacle for people to feel as an equal part of society, which can lead to pronounced psychological suffering," explains Prof. Andreas Heinz, President of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN) in Berlin. “Experiences of discrimination are not only characterized by their diversity, but also by their permanence and contradictions, which results in considerable burdens. Discriminatory or stigmatizing injuries and insults are particularly serious if there is no social support and no social corrective available at the same time to address this injustice. ”Such experiences can in their sum, even if no openly violent experiences are made, the mental health considerably endanger. Depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and other health complaints are possible consequences for people affected by discrimination.

The DGPPN actively campaigns against the marginalization of people and sees it as a historical mandate to come to terms with the past of the department and to stand up against all forms of racism and discrimination and to reduce them - also in the health sector.

Mental illness affects equal opportunities

Many people who have developed psychological problems or illnesses live with the worry or even fear of being additionally stigmatized by a diagnosis or psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment. This fact significantly increases the threshold for them to claim necessary specialist treatment (early). It has been proven that a large proportion of people seek medical help too late or not at all out of shame because of a mental illness. This difficult access to health care often contributes to a deterioration in the state of health and thus also reduces the chances of equal participation. “The disregard for the treatability or curability of mental illnesses by many social institutions is still problematic - be it on the job market, in civil service, in the social environment, in the media or even with private health insurers,” says Prof. Heinz. “With timely treatment, the majority of patients have a good chance of a cure or at least a decisive improvement in the clinical picture. Consistent treatment can significantly reduce the likelihood of restrictions in everyday life, but also of relapses. ”We need a more open social approach to the issue in order to be able to recognize and reduce false assumptions and existing prejudices.

Knowledge deficits encourage exclusion and false assumptions

As in other areas, people with a lack of knowledge about mental illness can develop prejudices that negatively affect their lives and the lives of others. Mental illnesses are common diseases. Every year more than every fourth adult in Germany fulfills the criteria for a mental illness. It is therefore important to find out more and stay informed - because mental illnesses can affect anyone. "There are definitely many ways to make a personal contribution against discrimination in mental illnesses, to get information, and knowing about the first warning signals and symptoms is an important step," emphasizes the President of the DGPPN. “Talking about discrimination and experiences of stigmatization is also necessary in order to make the experiences of exclusion and the lack of equal opportunities of those affected understandable for others. Here the so-called trialogue, the meeting of organizations of relatives, those affected and professionals on an equal footing, is of decisive importance. Through an open social climate based on solidarity, one can also contribute to reducing the psychological stress of people who are affected by discrimination. that human rights are violated.

With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, the United Nations (UN) defined rights to which all people are entitled from birth without restriction. With the "International Day of Human Rights", which takes place annually on December 10th, the UN reminds that these rights are violated again and again around the world.


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