Many people find loneliness a psychological burden
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Many people find loneliness a psychological burden

Almost half think mental health isn’t talked about enough

In parallel to the fact that the majority of survey participants still perceive mental health as a taboo topic, 44 percent are of the opinion that it is not discussed enough. For more than a fifth, however, there is enough talk about it – for more than a quarter, even too much.

MDRfragt member Oliver (39) thinks that in Germany “it has grown historically that little attention is paid to mental health.” He has the impression: “Talking about feelings, communicating needs or even seeking help still seems to be associated with weakness and failure, especially among men.”

When mental illnesses are discussed, Luise (27) from the Görlitz district notices that they are “often downplayed or not taken so seriously.” The reason for this, in her opinion, is that “this type of illness is intangible” because “you can see a broken arm, but depression is not written on your forehead.”

Lothar (66), also from the Görlitz district in East Saxony, also thinks: “Many people cannot imagine themselves in such a situation and think that the person affected just needs to try a little harder to improve the situation.”

Talking about feelings, communicating needs or even seeking help still seems to be associated with weakness and failure.

Oliver, 39 years old, Dresden

For Antje (50) from the Erzgebirgskreis, mental health now plays a big role. She writes that it was only in the last few years that she learned that mental health “even exists, that you can think about it and talk about it and that you can do things for yourself without feeling guilty.” The 50-year-old also reports: “I didn’t learn this as a child – things like that weren’t talked about and my father still doesn’t understand that I deal with it.”

Almost three quarters see stigmatization of mental illnesses

Almost three quarters of those surveyed have the impression that people with mental illnesses are sometimes stigmatized – that is, degraded and excluded. However, around a fifth do not observe this.

Tanja (66) from North Saxony shares her personal experiences in the comments and says: “Although there are efforts to get mental illness out of the ‘dirty corner’, it is difficult to live with it. Terms like ‘slap’ or ‘crazy’ are normal.” She thinks: “People are afraid of them because these diseases are largely unknown.”

From their perspective, a broken leg evokes helpfulness, while someone who cannot get out of bed for days because of depression is described as lazy. Burghard (65) from Magdeburg, who worked in a facility for people with disabilities, also had negative experiences on several occasions. He writes: “We encountered all kinds of discrimination in activities outside the facility.”

There are still people who make up lies so that they don’t have to say that they are mentally ill.

Antje, 50 years old, Erzgebirgskreis

Antje (50) from the Erzgebirgskreis describes what can follow from this and comments: “There are still people who build up lies in order not to have to say that they are mentally ill because they are afraid of stigmatization.” An MDRfragt member (57) from Chemnitz tells us what negative experiences you have when you talk about your mental illness. She has been going to psychotherapy for many years, but in her “work environment there are no positive comments about it.”

Another MDRfragt member (60) from Bautzen struggles with anxiety and panic attacks due to traumatic experiences and also encounters a lack of understanding in those around him. From there it is often said that “you are just imagining it and many people say that the events happened so long ago that you should finally be able to come to terms with it and not feel like that.”

Mental health as a topic in school lessons: Almost two thirds are in favor

Should mental health be discussed in school lessons? Almost two thirds of the MDRfragt participants are in favor of this. However, around a quarter reject this.

Many people in the comments also spoke out in favor of addressing mental health in school lessons. However, there are also critical voices. For example, H. (61) from the Vogtland district thinks the topic of mental health is introduced too early in school lessons because, in his opinion, it could have a rather negative impact. He thinks that the school “should not add additional burdens with such issues, but should create an environment that monitors and offers help if necessary.” Similarly, Knut (63) from Dresden comments: “School cannot address all social problems; this trend is currently far too pronounced.” In his opinion, addressing mental health is a matter for parents.

At least school children and young people should also be informed about possible symptoms so that they can react in a timely manner.

Markus, 32 years old, Leipzig

Oliver (39) from the Meißen district sees it completely differently and demands: “We urgently need the subject ‘self-awareness’ in school. There, young people should learn something about the body and the psyche, specifically how they function, what they do needs and, above all, what you can do when you’re feeling bad.”

Iris (60) from the Unstrut-Hainich district also believes that “children should learn to deal with stress and negative situations.” Markus (32) from Leipzig sees it similarly and writes: “At least school children and young people should also be informed about possible symptoms in order to be able to react in a timely manner.” Clara (24) from Greiz thinks that “that would have helped a lot of my classmates at the time to find a sensible way to deal with these topics.”

About this survey
The survey from July 28th to August 1st, 2023 was entitled:
Slim and beautiful – a must? This also included questions about mental health.

A total of 65,755 people from Central Germany are registered with MDRfragt (as of August 2, 2023, 12:00 p.m.).

20,648 people from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia took part in this survey online.

Distribution by age group:
16 to 29 years: 269 participants
30 to 49 years: 2,785 participants
50 to 64 years: 8,452 participants
65+: 9,142 participants

Distribution by federal states:
Saxony: 10,567 (51 percent)
Saxony-Anhalt: 4,923 (24 percent)
Thuringia: 5,158 (25 percent)

Distribution by gender:
Female: 10,080 (48.8 percent)
Male: 10,510 (50.9 percent)
Miscellaneous: 58 (0.3 percent)

The results of the survey are not representative. However, in collaboration with the scientific advisory board, we weighted them according to the statistical characteristics of education, gender and age. This means that we compared the data of the MDRfragt members involved in the survey with the data of the Central German population.

Due to rounding, the percentage values ​​for individual questions may not add up to exactly 100.

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