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7. April 2017 – Weltgesundheitstag: Depression – let’s talk.


Christian Deutsch and Georg Psota: Do not confuse atrocities with mental illness.

Rather, the cause is a high level of criminal energy
Vienna (OTS) - It is common these days to assert that the killers who shocked Europe in recent weeks with their horrific acts were mentally ill. Dr. Georg Psota, vice president of the Austrian Society for Psychiatry, and Christian Deutsch, chairman of the association ganznormal.at argue against such a simplification. "Acts of terrorism aim to instil a climate of fear, terror and chaos in Europe. Their primary cause is fanatical and criminal energy and terrorist strategy. This must be strictly distinguished from a possible mental illness of the perpetrators. Firstly, to prevent this from being the only explanation of these savage acts, and secondly, in order not to lump the many thousands of mentally ill people in Austria together with the criminals and thus to stigmatise them", says Deutsch. The symptoms of real depression have been known since antiquity, for about 2500 years, and they are unambiguous from a medical-scientific point of view.

Depression is marked by severe loss of interest, lack of energy, listlessness and low mood. Some people, in fact, cannot even get out of bed and get dressed. Being genuinely depressed makes it de facto impossible to commit such acts", Dr Psota clarifies. For the criminals, it's simply about reaching their fanatical goals. Psota: "The crimes of religious fanatics and political extremists, from the Nazis to IS terrorists, are not the result of a depression or a different relevant mental illness, but rather of the highest level of aggressive criminal energy."
To claim that terrorists often suffer from mental illness leads to the stigmatisation of people who really are mentally ill. And this stigmatisation in turn leads to the people who need help being even more reluctant to seek it. The association ganznormal.at has been fighting for the equality of people who suffer from physical and mental illnesses and against the taboos and stigmas associated with people who suffer from mental illness. "We therefore urge the public to recognise terrorist attacks and acts of violence for what they are: an expression of aggressive criminal energy", say Christian Deutsch and Georg Psota.