The targets of the Alliance’s work are information on depression and its treatment possibilities, destigmatization as well as information on concrete contact points and help offers in the city of Landau and the district of Südliche Weinstraße. It is not our task to establish treatment offers although they seem to be insufficient in the day-patient area in so far as long waiting times for an appointment with a specialist or a psychotherapist have become the rule.
The primary topic in 2016 will, thus, remain the counselling on treatment possibilities and bridging offers since early recognition of treatment-requiring depression and a fast start of treatment shortens the time of suffering, gives hope and enables survival and coping with every-day life.
By giving telephonic advice, handing out our information flyer at public places and being present with regular information booths at various events we want to inform those concerned and their relatives about the different possibilities of getting help and finding ways out of depression. Rich information and a survey on the regional help offers contributes to achieving a reduction of helplessness and powerlessness often arising in those concerned, their relatives and other persons of contact in view of the health system regulations. The challenge will be to increase the bridging help offers.
In the first place, self-help groups have proven to be successful and we want to strengthen and expand them. A self-help group that could meet at the clinic in Klingenmünster would be closer for the people in the southern area and already during an in-patient stay a group visit could be realized. In cooperation with the Regional Center for Health Promotion a regional runners‘ and movement group with the motto „Make depression get a move on” is supported. After the one-year model phase it shall become a regular offer.
The possibility to make a short-term appointment for consultations and crisis meetings at the Pfalzklinikum Admission and Information Center (AIZ) in Klingenmünster and at the Regional Psychosomatic Center (RPZ) in Landau shall be made better known in the region.
The Alliance continues to offer training for family physicians as well as information events for multipliers at schools, parishes and clubs.
We want to achieve destigmatization, which is always the target and the foundation of successful alliance work, by being present at regional events, identifying various contact partners, using cultural media and raising sensitivity for depression in close cooperation with the political representatives in order to contribute to a good development of psychiatric care.
In summer 2016, the “Mood Tour“, a tandem bicycle tour across Germany, is stopping off in Landau. By organizing a warm welcome, providing information and organizing activities at the Rathausplatz, Landau’s central town hall square, the Alliance wants to give the public the opportunity to take an objective look at depression, approach it and finally accept it as a treatable disease. One challenge for the Alliance will be to organize the planning, preparation and realisation together with all participants from various institutions, voluntary organizations and self-help groups so that we can arouse enthusiasm for our work and find new fellow campaigners.
Along with the regional contact person for Relatives about Suicide (AGUS e.V.) we focus our attention every year on the annual World Suicide Prevention Day, September, 10. Each year, we make a different offer to get the necessary attention for this topic. This year it is going to be a film presentation followed by the possibility to ask questions, discuss and exchange personal experience. After a suicide the family, friends and colleagues have open questions and find themselves thrown off the track. They need support, understanding, answers and courage to live.
Another topic is the relation between working environment and mental health. An increase of sick days due to mental burden is noted. We receive inquiries from companies in our region and there is a great readiness to actively tackle this issue in the enterprises. The Alliance offers lectures and executive manager counselling and they are gladly accepted by the companies.
As a result of last year‘s information forum on the topic of depression in children and adolescents we want to promote preventive offers in schools. It is clearly very important to inform the citizens that depressions can already appear in childhood and adolescence and that there are treatment possibilities. Beside this message, we want to put the focus of our activities on prevention so that we can prevent the emergence of depressions at school age. For this reason, we take part in a regional resilience program carrying out, among other things, training in social skills and emotion regulation.
The up-to-date topic of fleeing people, their hardships and their traumatic experiences present completely new challenges, not only to us, for which there are no routine answers. However, our experience in alliance work comprising networking, integration of persons concerned, use of various media, identification and integration of cooperation partners should enable us to find answers to these challenges.
Dr. Sylvia Claus
President of the Alliance against Depression Landau-Südliche Weinstraße e.V.
Head physician of the Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy Klingenmünster at Pfalzklinikum