Do you have worries or depressive thoughts?


Do you have worries or depressive thoughts?

On the “Writing instead of silence” platform, children, young people and adults can make inquiries about mental health. Then there’s advice from experts.

The corona pandemic, including lockdowns and isolation, has been a burden on most of us for a long time now. We all have to accept limitations in our everyday lives, have to struggle with new worries and fears and often feel overwhelmed and not as carefree as we used to be. Children and young people in particular suffer from the restrictions, which primarily affect their social contacts and social development.

Since mental stress or illnesses are (unfortunately) still often taboo and kept silent in our society, many people do not dare to speak openly about their worries and fears. This is exactly where the Anima Mentis health center ’s “ Write instead of silence ” platform comes in and offers everyone, young and old, an easy way to share their thoughts and concerns – and then get help from trained experts. We have project initiator Dr. Peter Kirschner asked a few questions about the new platform:

What are the problems that children and young people are currently struggling with?

Peter Kirschner: The mental stress caused by the pandemic has become extremely high for adults, children and young people because new challenges have arisen that they have never faced before.

Now that’s not particularly helpful for young people when the whole body is changing, you’re in a bit of an identity crisis yourself, you don’t yet know exactly who you actually are, what you want to do, and then beyond that social contacts break down and you have a lot things, especially social behavior, can no longer try them out. Reference persons are suddenly absent. All in all, there is a high probability that you will develop a mental illness. In general, the likelihood of developing depression has increased by about 20 percent for both children and adults.

How is the mental stress manifested?

Sleep problems, physical problems and general states of exhaustion develop precisely as a result of social isolation. For example, it is harder to get out of bed or you can no longer motivate yourself to do certain things. Life just gets harder. If these start the stress states in the body and you don’t intercept them in time, it can happen that negative things develop from it, such as depression. But it can also lead to affective disorders, body perception disorders, disorders in eating behavior, …

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Are pubescents more affected here than elementary school children? What role does the social environment or reference persons play?

It’s totally diverse. However, it has actually been found that there is a great deal of stress among those who are just growing into adolescence, i.e. 13, 14 and 15-year-olds, because they are simply going through the greatest change.

As research now shows, the behavior of the parents has had a strong impact on the psyche of the children and young people. Especially in small children. Were you very afraid? Then all of a sudden the kids were scared too. Do the parents have many worries about the future? Then the kids probably do too. If a parent loses their job, for example, this naturally also affects the children.

Something extremely important that you mentioned is the social environment. Of course, less has happened to children who grow up in a stable system than to children who were previously unstable. Close relationships with whom you can exchange ideas make a big difference here.

There’s still that “mentally ill” stigma. It’s easy to get labeled or afraid of being labeled.
How does your project want to help?

Access to therapy is extremely limited. Unfortunately, many places are missing here. Also, there’s still that stigma of being “mentally ill.” It’s easy to get labeled or afraid of being labeled. That must not be.

We want to offer simple, anonymous access where people can get first aid – and learn that they are not alone with their worries and thoughts and that there is a way out in every situation. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to mental health.

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How exactly does “Write instead of silence” work?

People can write us their concerns on our website and our psychotherapists and psychologists will respond – usually within a day – and give tips on what to do. For some, the tips themselves can change their minds – for others we see that they really need more help. We will then refer them to the right places.

It’s all anonymous and free. We then post the answered question on the website for others who may have similar concerns to see it.

What is written there?

That is very different. It is often about stress issues, sleep problems, changes at work, lovesickness – across the board. Actually everything where a little bit of life changes or a new one begins.

Are the requests filtered?

Yes. For urgent inquiries, we try to contact the person directly as soon as possible, which is possible if they include their email address. Of course, we have also listed all emergency numbers for acute cases on our site.

In general, we try that the person gets help really quickly, whatever and wherever. It can be in a clinical setting, in a hospital, it depends – we mediate that.

Do you also provide advice on finding a therapy place?

Exactly. We use the possibilities from our partner system, the public authorities or put you in touch with our experts, if you wish. We help people find the option that works best for them. It may not be clear to many whether they need a psychotherapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or simple coaching – that makes a big difference. We’ll look at that together.

How do you reach young people?

Especially via social media. That means, for example, we run campaigns with influencers who deal with the topic and bring the whole thing up relatively young – especially our user experience, so that the young people can find their way around easily. What we are planning now is to advertise our project in schools and universities, in order to pick up young people in particular.

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We have far too few public therapy places, so it is our concern to raise awareness and show: Hey, there are actually quite a lot of people who would take advantage of it and really need it.

How did you come up with the idea of ??the project? Were there any projects that served as a model?

Wired advice , you probably know the telephone helpline. I’m not a big fan of using the phone, because it’s often easier to write down problems or thoughts. I think some people do. In addition, you can classify and reflect on things quite well for yourself.

In my professional life in the hospital, it would sometimes have been nice if there had been a kind of FAQ where patients could have read through frequently asked questions from others and found their bearings. what does it take What not? A bit of generation of knowledge for yourself, but then also knowing that you are not alone with your questions and that someone who has real know-how will answer. That was the idea why we did it.

My motivation is to break down this stigma and show that you can speak openly – even if the topics are difficult. So that it becomes completely normal. Unfortunately, we are working here on hard-established opinions in our system. In Vienna, for example, we have far too few public therapy places that we actually need, and of course it is also our concern to raise awareness and show: Hey, there are actually quite a lot of people who would take advantage of it and really need. And if we’re going to praise our healthcare system, then we should also make sure that it covers all areas – including mental illnesses.

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