“Discrimination and racism are structural problems that affect a large part of society, and they will only be resolved or improved if we address them in society as a whole.”
Alina Georgescu (she/no pronoun) is a queer, non-binary/fluid person of color, a trained boat builder, an educational scientist, and a Reiki energy healer. Since 2018, Alina is an advisor at the Anti-Discrimination Network of the Türkischen Bund Berlin-Brandenburg.
“In psychiatry and psychology, there is a tendency towards norm-building and the idea that mental illness is abnormal and health is normal. This is nonsense.”
Andreas Heinz (he/his) is a professor of Psychiatry and the Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte.
“I hope that there will be a different level of awareness in the society, that people with mental illness will not be perceived as a hindrance, but as an integral part of society that advances and promotes the society.”
Arno Deister (he/his) is a physician for psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychosomatics, and neurology and the chair of the Aktionsbündnis für Seelische Gesundheit.
“In Germany, legislation violates human rights. There are people who do not have access to the fundamental right to health.”
Carolin Ochs (she/her) is a social worker. Since 2015, she has been advising people without health insurance on their access to the German health care system. She is currently an advisor at the Clearingstelle für nicht-krankenversicherte Menschen.
“In some communities, there is a lot of distrust with regard to mental health services because of the historical context of racism within the mental health science and care system.”
Felicia Boma Lazaridou (she/her) is a psychologist, a Ph.D. candidate at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and a scientific researcher at the National Discrimination and Racism Monitor, German Institute for Integration and Migration Research.
“Sometimes it is good to not work so hard on politics and making demands, but instead to create new realities.”
As an artistic research project, the Feminist Health Care Research Group (FHCRG) develops empowering perspectives on health and healthcare in the form of exhibitions, workshops, and zines. Currently, the Feminist Health Care Research Group consists of the artist, mother, and bodyworker Julia Bonn (she/her) and the artist, mother, and deaf-blind-assistant Inga Zimprich (she/her).
“The future of mental health is the collective. It has always been the collective. Because the problem is the collective. So, the collective should be the solution.”
Kader Attia (he/his) is an artist and a curator whose long-term research and artistic practice revolve around the idea of repair.
“How do people get along who are unaware of how vital touch is to them? Heartfelt touch is crucial for survival.”
Katrin Dinges (she/her) is an artist, an arts and culture facilitator, and a poet.
“Which places exist for people who can no longer abide by certain behavioral rules that we have imposed on ourselves?”
Kim Wichera (they/them) is a Berlin-based artist who works at the Weglaufhaus, an anti-psychiatric facility in Berlin.
“It is essential to have a neighborhood where you feel comfortable, and a network where you are valued, and people help each other.”
Kirsten Schubert (she/her) is a general practitioner, co-founded and works at the Geko Stadtteil-Gesundheits-Zentrum in Berlin-Neukölln.
“From a trans* perspective, the pathologization of transness is very upsetting. I don’t need anyone to confirm my mental health status, to know whether or not I want to have surgeries or access to hormones. I think it’s incredibly infantilising.”
Lee Modupeh Anansi Freeman (they/them/it) is a Berlin-based, Black, transcontinental, trans*gender multidisciplinary artist, creative event producer and community organizer. They are a breaker of chains, a storyteller, a somatic healer and educator. It is most times a good witch and sometimes a bad bxtch.
“At the Robert Koch Institute, we develop mental health indicators that are also internationally comparable.”
Michael Bosnjak (he/his) is the scientific director and the head of the department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring at Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and a professor for Psychological Research Methods at the University of Trier.
“I transfer knowledge from informal neighborhoods in the Global South to cities in the Global North so that cities develop their own potential. Their inhabitants can use this knowledge to develop sustainable, healthy cities.”
Mandu dos Santos Pinto (he/his) is an activist, artist, architect, and urban planner, focused on developing sustainable solutions for cities of the Global South.
“Large cities have more advantages than disadvantages for mental health, as long as you have fair access to the benefits of the city.”
Mazda Adli (he/his) is a psychiatrist and stress researcher, the chair of the Fliedner Klinik Berlin, and the director of the Mood Disorders Research Group at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité –Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte.
“Solidarity is a work of giving hope to each other, encouraging, empowering, and giving courage. It means going out and doing something to give meaning to our existence in the city and to free ourselves from feeling powerless. This can definitely counterbalance the worries that people have.”
Niloufar Tajeri (she/her) is an architect, activist, and architecture theoretist. She co-founded the Initiative Hermannplatz.
“The care system in Berlin is fully differentiated. Berlin can justifiably be proud to provide a care system with very diverse facets.”
Norma Kusserow (she/her) is the psychiatry officer at the Berlin Senate Department for Higher Education and Research, Health, Long-Term Care and Gender Equality.
“There is a very rigid body of knowledge about mental health. This Eurocentric, white, male perspective takes up an extreme amount of space and is dominant. I feel it is like a block, and we have to go around it. But we're on it with a hammer and chisel – this block must be destroyed.”
Pasquale Virginie Rotter (they/them) is a Somatic coach, author, trainer for empowerment, a lecture performer and a gardener.
“Berlin has a pretty decent work-life balance. That aids in mental health because it allows people to free themselves from feeling that their whole life is about work.”
Samie Blasingame (she/her) is a researcher, facilitator, and curator within the field of environmental justice and sustainable food systems.
“Rather than looking at how a person is actually doing, often, they are considered healthy if they can work productively in the system. To what extent can a person be healthy when the system itself is ill? Or is the supposedly ‘ill’ person in a sick system actually healthy?”
Tzoa (he/his) is a gender non-conforming trans* Person of Colour celebrating their tofu-masculinity, a traditional Chinese and Daoist Medicine practitioner, and a founding member of Casa Kuà.
“In the social struggles for the right to the city, it is important that people have managed to see each other beyond the boundaries of isolation, have entered into a relationship with each other, and have made it a collective, structural problem to deal with. This changes the sense of threat quite a bit.”
Ulrike Hamann (she/her) is the managing director of the Berliner Mieterverein. She is a trained metal fabricator and a political scientist who co-founded the tenants’ initiative Kotti & Co and helped to organise the Berlin rent referendum.
“A lot is happening in Berlin, also a lot of good things, in the field of mental health. In the professional context, as well as in civil society. I would like to see more joint negotiations, perhaps also joint disputes. By negotiating tensions, we sometimes come up with better and more purposeful ideas than if we avoid them.”
Ulrike Kluge (she/her) is a professor for Psychological and Medical Integration and Migration Research at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte, and the head of the Department of Migration and Health at the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM).
“Working with Arabic-speaking refugee women in Berlin, the biggest support we offer is to make them feel that their pain is heard and that their experiences are recognised. This is what they need. This is what we are offering. To listen to them.”
Yasmin Merei (she/her) is a journalist, linguist, human rights activist, and founder of Women for Common Spaces.
Lee Modupeh Anansi Freeman
Mandu dos Santos Pinto
Pasquale Virginie Rotter