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Why and How to Speak about Mental Health and Psychiatric Illnesses?

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  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 29, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

In the Czech Republic depression and bipolar disorders affect more people than diabetes and asthma, and anxiety disorders are twice as common again (almost 1.5 million people). According to the World Health Organisation, psychiatric illnesses accounts for 40 percent of all illnesses and approximately every fourth person will experience some form of mental illness in the course of their life. However, we speak about mental health far less than about physical wellbeing.

The first of a series of three evenings will be dedicated to why and how a group of young neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatric patients are tackling the problem of insufficient awareness, stigmatisation and neglected prevention in the field of mental health and illness in the Czech Republic. The discussion will touch on the Nevypusť duši (Don’t Let the Spirit Go) project, as well as inspirational campaigns in other states. On why it is necessary to focus on the language and vocabulary that we employ when we speak about psychiatric health and illness and how the use of personal stories can best spread facts and bust myths about mental health and illness.

There will be room for questions and a debate, while attendees will be able to draw on seven tenets of mental hygiene as well as a Manual for Loved Ones, which provides advice on what to do if somebody close to you has mental problems.

A series created by the non-profit Nevypusť duši (Don’t Let the Spirit Go), which is run by a team of young psychologists, neuroscientists and students of those disciplines. It also comprises psychiatric patients and people with experience of psychiatric illness at a young age. Nevypusť duši circulates information, busts myths and informs the Czech Republic about mental health.

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Letter to Gustáv Husák – samizdat essay

„The overall question, then, is this: What profound intellectual and moral impotence will the nation suffer tomorrow, following the castration of its culture today? I fear that the baneful effects on society will outlast by many years the particular political interests that gave rise to them. So much more guilty, in the eyes of history, are those who have sacrificed the country’s spiritual future for the sake of their present power interests.“

Václav Havel:
Letter to Gustáv Husák – samizdat essay, April 8, 1975

The unbearable lightness of evilVáclav Havel’s Prague