Who am I?

My name is Lisa Kainzbauer. I am a graduate of the Vienna Graphics School and currently studying at the University of Vienna. Besides working as a freelance photographer, my colleague Brigitte Maresch and I are writing a book entitled “Verrückt - Wie fühlt sich Schizophrenie an” (Crazy – What Schizophrenia Feels Like.”) The book was inspired by my mother’s struggle with schizophrenia and my quest to find out how she perceives and experiences the world. The book is a combination of interviews, interpretative photography and graphics as well as photo journalistic components.

Why am I invested in being an active part of the initiative?

I became aware of the project as a result of my cooperation with the HPE Vienna and was invited to present my point of view. It is important to me to seize opportunities such as this one, which allow me to share my experiences and my resulting opinions. Unfortunately, many people still have very little empathy and a lack of knowledge about “mental illness” related topics. Not only do I think that that’s a shame for an “enlightened” society such as ours, I also think it’s an inadequacy. Given this situation and also because living with mental illnesses – as a patient or family member/loved one – is anything but an exception these days – I want to stop holding back and share what I know instead. Only those who speak up can be heard and with this in mind, I want to talk about my experiences, challenges and everything I was able to learn. I would like to add a perspective that lures researchers out of their comfort zones and inspires them to review their points of view and work processes. You could say that I consider myself a note that jogs the memory. After all, as time passes, it is all too easy to forget that we are all people in the end.

Interview WITH JOY
Who am I?

My name is Joy. I live in Vienna, Austria. Growing up with my mother’s disease has shaped my personality in many ways and besides many other things, turned me into the person I am today. As a result of my participation in a self-help group for adult children of mentally ill parents, I joined the HPE (association providing assistance to family members of mentally ill patients). I’ve been an active association member since 2005 and I am now a HPE Vienna board member). I am particularly partial to the different needs arising from the different roles within the family (parents, children, siblings, etc.), the provision of information on mental illness and de-stigmatization as well as advocacy for equal opportunities regardless of health status. Not only am I a health advocacy volunteer, I am also a healthcare professional and have recently acquired my degree as a mediator.

Why am I invested in being an active part of the initiative?

I am certain that we can never talk too much about mental illness. There is a virtually boundless need for information, creation of awareness, expansion of knowledge and reduction of stigma. Research plays an enormously important role in this field: It generates evidence, creates “realities” and is a critical communicative tool. It also has to assume a lot of responsibility. In my eyes, it is important that the researchers participating in the LBG Initiative do not talk/write ABOUT children of mentally ill parents, but work WITH them; that they are in direct contact with us and share experiences. The best possible scenario is participative research. It would please me immensely if they approached the subject matter attentively, with active interest and if they were willing to listen so that they could develop the empathy needed to understand what growing up with a mentally ill parent can mean for your life. It would be helpful to develop the sensibility that makes them realize that there is no such thing as THE child or THE mentally ill parent. The ways in which mental illnesses present themselves and what effects they have is contingent upon so many factors… I want to emphasize how wide this spectrum is. The best outcome would be attained if the researchers were able to overcome the phobias related to coming into contact with those affected, if they approached the subject matter with curiosity and if they embraced the target group they are researching and FOR whom they are doing this research and publication work.

What makes the Ideas Lab so unique?

A Ideas lab has been described as Boot Camp for Scientists. What’s bit campus about it? 1. It’s very intense. Scientists and mentors guides live, eat and work together for five days to push the envelope of what’s been done in a scientific domain. 2. It asks people to adopt new behaviors for example, to stay in Learner’s Mind for the first half of the event. New ideas come faster when you listen to people with different expertise sand skill sets that interact with the same problem space you seek to impact with your expertise. The sandpit encourages many interactions and shorter conversations before inviting people to settle in to longer ones. The other unique factor is that the funding indication happens at the end of the event or soon after. The decision-making limbo period is short.

Why do you recommend researchers to participate in an Ideas Lab?

I try not to recommend it. It’s better if people decide to come to the event because they are intrigued by the challenge being addressed, the process, or the opportunity to learn and collaborate with people from very different fields around a topic they may have been studying for years from the perspective of their own expertise. Sandpits often lead to new collaborations that last for many years. Those new collaborations are sometimes career bending, and can be traced back to one intense week.

Please give an example of an event using the Ideas Lab format that was a game changer?

KI facilitated Ideas Labs/Sandpit Success Stories.

Odor Navigation

This research project came from a June 2015 NSF Ideas Lab which was part of President Obama’s initiative on the brain, this event in particular focusing on “Cracking the Olfactory Code.” The team, from the University of Colorado, the University of Pittsburgh, U of California Berkeley, NYU and Yale, is exploring how odors move in landscapes, and how animals use smell to understand the landscape. The goal is to be able to produce an olfactory robot that can replace animals to detect smells, like explosives. As well, the research can be used to understand and develop ways to interfere with the ability of flying insects to locate their odor target and this would be a “green” technology to limit the spread of disease or ruin crops.

A PBS video about the project:

Nitrogen, Improving Upon Nature

You can read about four projects that resulted from this Idea Lab, which was a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council:

Thing Tank

From an Ideas Lab in 2013 on seeding an environment for innovation, this project imagines that once the Internet of Things is ubiquitous, the everyday objects in our lives will be connected and can react and respond to each other, potentially inventing new objects or new applications between them so that the things themselves are redesigning new things. It sees the objects themselves as evolving and contributing to the innovation, a departure from objects as data collectors and sensors, but actually engaging the objects themselves in design. For instance, objects could collect data about how people are using them — or abusing them — and eventually could redesign themselves using a 3D printer. It’s a partnership between the Industrial Design Engineering Dept at the University of Delft in the Netherlands and the Center for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the University of Electro-Communication in Japan and the Anthropology department at the University of California in Santa Cruz in the US.

Open Tree of Life

The “tree of life” maps all biodiversity via its shared evolutionary history. This project, from a 2010 NSF Ideas Lab titled “Assembling, Visualizing and Analyzing the Tree of Life” (AVAToL) brought together 11 scientists from 10 institutions in the US to work together to produce the first comprehensive on-line version of the tree, using 1.8 million named species. This dynamic tree combines previously published results with new collaborations between computer modellers and biologists to develop, test and improve how evolutionary data is synthesized. It’s dynamic tool for scientists, and the public, to review and revise the tree of life as new data is available. It’s open source. So as more people use it, the tool will develop and facilitate the ongoing synthesis of our knowledge of evolution. Here’s the site: Here's an article about the success of one of the funded projects from that same event:
This was a paper written about an Ideas Lab:

A few articles about KI Sandpit/Ideas events:

What do you expect the Ideas Lab focusing on the challenge “Children of mentally ill parents” to achieve?

I hope it achieves some funded projects that organizers, participants and mentors are excited about. That the projects that get the green light are ones that people agree wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for this event. That, funded or not, participants walk away feeling nourished and enthusiastic about a future collaboration. And that if people couldn’t sleep it’s because their head was buzzing with ideas throughout the night.

Thank you for the interview!
Interview with Dr Paula Bailey, Advisor to the Ideas Lab
What makes the Ideas Lab so unique?

The Ideas Lab (known as the Sandpit in the UK), established in 2003 by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is about finding new ways of generating adventurous research projects, coupled with real-time, robust peer review. The aim is twofold: firstly, to create new multidisciplinary research groups and projects, by developing interactions between diverse groups of researchers and stakeholders, leading to the formation of sustainable networks; secondly, to stimulate highly innovative and more risk-accepting research activities that encourage working and thinking differently. The Ideas Lab is unique in that it is an interactive, five day residential workshop where a group of 20-30 researchers from a range of disciplines immerse themselves in a collaborative thinking process. Through the use of deliberate creativity techniques, the group of likeminded scientists from a variety of backgrounds explore new thinking around research challenges in order to uncover innovation solutions. The Ideas Lab is a very effective approach to bringing people together that don’t normally interact, catalysing and developing new research ideas. The Ideas Lab relies on the skill, passion and creativity of those involved. It is a process built on team dynamics – driving innovation and ideas through discussion, debate and interaction. Each Ideas Lab is led by a director, supported by mentors and facilitators. Stakeholders, those with experience of the issue, provide valuable insight and, ultimately, teams of participants develop potential research proposals. The Ideas Lab mechanism is unique and has already shown a universally positive impact for those attending. In the UK, the Sandpit has established independent and sustainable research communities; created an observable culture change amongst participants who are embracing creativity and originality; facilitated an increase in the capacity of multidisciplinary researchers and their interactions.

Why do you recommend researchers to participate in an Ideas Lab?

There has been overwhelming enthusiasm and passion from the research community for the Sandpit mechanism and the multidisciplinary, adventurous research it has enabled. The Sandpit can be hard work, tiring, emotionally and intellectually challenging but also very stimulating, refreshing and fun. At the sandpit, the unique environment enables researchers to take time out of their every day worlds, make new contacts and be part of a new network, which is particularly fruitful for early career researchers. Participants increase their capacity for originality in their own research and form new ideas with a great deal of personal development taking place in a very short time. The majority of Sandpit participants can point to tangible evidence of success direct from the Sandpit funding in the form of patents, multidisciplinary publications, press coverage, industry follow-on funding, creation of new research groups, and enhancement of their personal networks. Personal success is also evident from several participants with university promotion, career progression and acceleration. If a researcher asks me “Should I apply?”, my answer is always a resounding “Yes!”.

Please give an example of an event using the Ideas Lab format that was a game changer?

There are two types of Idea Lab topics: one where the topic requires a fundamental shift in scientific thinking towards a new direction, and the other when the topic is centred around a challenge that a user or stakeholders may have. The upcoming Ideas Lab on “Children of mentally ill parents” presents itself with many challenges from a stakeholder perspective. A similar event focussed on a key stakeholder challenge, organised by EPSRC together with the UK Home Office Scientific Development Branch and the UK Borders Agency, bought together researchers from several universities and defence and security specialists to develop a new approach to cargo screening for detecting explosives, drugs and human presence. Cargo scanners in use at seaports and airports at that time only generated limited information and relied on a variety of separate methods, such as the use of sniffer dogs, external scanners, carbon dioxide probes and heartbeat monitors. The external screening systems were typically bulky, expensive and required ultra-high sensitivity as the sensor was remote from the cargo. The need for customs and security agents to enter or unpack freight containers was time-consuming and could expose agents to danger or possible contamination. The stakeholders required solutions that were small in size, simple to operate and which border agents could have total confidence in. These challenges, along with possible solutions, were explored at the sandpit and one project team came up with the idea for a robot device only 30cm long, nicknamed the 'cargo-screening ferret', designed for use at seaports and airports. The researchers developed a suite of novel sensing technologies, incorporated on the compact, low power and lightweight robot, to detect illegal substances at much lower concentrations than was previously possible. The sensors match the sensitivity of dogs in detecting substances, but not having the problem of distraction, tiring or confusion, with a much longer on-duty time. Due to the small size of the robot, when placed inside a steel freight container, it can automatically move around and seek out contraband or concealed people, sending a steady stream of information back to its controller. The benefits proposed by this new technology offer huge potential for the stakeholders.

What do you expect the Ideas Lab focusing on the challenge “Children of mentally ill parents” to achieve?

One of the exciting aspects of the Ideas Lab is that the research outcomes are not pre-determined, but instead emerge during the Ideas Lab from the participants’ discussions. As well as the new research stimulated, I would expect the Ideas Lab to create many new contacts between participants, encourage exciting new multidisciplinary collaborations, and bring innovative new thinking to the research challenges in this area. As a result I would expect a more connected research landscape, through the newly developed cohort of early career researchers.

Thank you for the interview!
Interview with Mag. Raphaela Kaisler, Programme Manager of the Research Programme Mental Health for Children and Adolescents
What makes the “Mental Health for Children and Adolescents” Project so unique?

What makes this project special is the new research approach that makes it possible to involve the community. The resulting LBG research program “Psychische Gesundheit von Kindern und Jugendlichen“ (Adolescent Mental Health) is the first that incorporates direct contributions from the community. The crowd sourcing initiative “Reden Sie mit!“ (“Tell us!!”) allowed affected patients, their family members and experts to communicate their thoughts in response to the question “Which mental health issues should science address in your opinion?” I think that it is especially noteworthy that the research topic as such was proposed directly by the community. This project successfully integrated the community into the research project as a knowledge resource. I am already looking forward to seeing these research topics being translated into concrete research projects that will now be addressed in an ideas lab.

What is an Ideas lab?

The term ideas lab is used to describe a new, innovative selection process that is used to assemble international and interdisciplinary research teams. A five-day workshop brings together 25-30 experienced scientists who represent a range of different disciplines with the aim of collaborating in the development of a research idea. In conjunction with this work, we promote an unfettered, unrestrained thinking intellectual approach that breaks through the disciplinary boundaries. The collaboration with colleagues representing different disciplines and backgrounds paves the way for the participants to come up with new, creative proposals for solutions for complex problems. Not only does the ideas lab provide room for innovative ideas, it is also the driving force behind new collaborations, which also result in new research questions.

Why did you choose this format? What do you expect it to achieve?

We chose this format with the aim of breaking up old thinking patterns. Interdisciplinary research is not limited to the cooperation with colleagues from different disciplines, it also offers participants an opportunity to approach a research topic from different perspectives using previously unfamiliar methods. Eventually, what evolves is “actual innovation” – something that is radically new. By using this format, we want to encourage scientists to think outside of the box and to be inspired by other ideas with the objective of creating something new. It is particularly important to me to further integrate the community into the entire process, i.e. both, the idea lab and the research projects as such. The aim for the research groups is to maintain intensive contacts with the community to ensure that it can participate in the research approach and also has the opportunity to introduce new ideas.

Thank you for the interview!
Interview with Mag. Claudia Lingner, Managing Director at the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and Initiator from Open Innovation in Science
Where do you stand in terms of transferring research questions into specific activities?

Tell us! yielded 400 high-quality posts upon which we are now building. Based on the questions and problem descriptions submitted, we have identified those topics that have a high level of social relevance and in which there is a need for further research. We are now engaged in extensive research and are compiling information about ongoing projects, research activities and relevant stakeholders – by which I mean researchers and practitioners as well as user organisations. This research is crucial to launching research activities of high quality, even if these activities are not necessarily visible to observers outside the field.

That’s true; things have quieted down somewhat around your project, and people are wondering what will happen with the results...

That's exactly what I mean! It's not always easy to present project progress – but we're making important steps every day. What this means specifically is that our team is currently concerned with presenting the state of research relative to specific issues. There is historical material to identify on the subject – such as campaigns, etc. – and an actor network to be created from different disciplines. To a considerable extent, what we are doing here is pioneering work in science; we are experimenting, which also involves lots of risks, but always playing it safe doesn’t help us, either!

What is the LBG vision in this regard?

We are working to form a research group focussing on novel questions in the field of mental illness while at the same time putting the principles of Open Innovation in Science to practice. In other words, the point is to open ourselves in many directions and to work across disciplinary and departmental boundaries – together with users.

This sounds as if the community also remains involved in the research process?

Our Tell us!’ community consists of the mentally ill and their friends and family members; of field experts among psychiatric caregivers, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, teachers, etc., etc., etc. Again and again, we are contacted by people enquiring to see how the project is progressing– we are delighted at the continued interest and appreciate the dialogue. All of these people with their valuable knowledge, the so-called ‘community’, will continue to play an essential role in our activities.

The Open Innovation in Science project of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft has now reached the halfway point. What is your assessment of the project from today's perspective?

We have set ourselves the objective of tracking down new research questions in the field of mental illness. With the ‘Reden Sie mit!’ initiative, we have set out on an unconventional research path to create something new in order to then generate new knowledge that can be of use to society. I am convinced that there are limits to linear thinking in science, and that by systematically consulting ‘unusual knowledge providers’ we will be able to overcome these limits. We will still live in a culture in which the protection of rights outranks the sharing of knowledge. But precisely this sharing of knowledge can bear fantastic fruits that can greatly benefit the common good. We were also able to show how to successfully integrate the citizenry at a very, very early stage of the research process. And with this, we have also set a milestone in the field of citizen science.

Thank you for the interview!
Dr. Malfent, the first results of 'Tell Us!' were published a few weeks ago. Looking back at the past eight months, what aspects of this project did you find particularly satisfying?

We were truly impressed to receive so many high-quality submissions. For us, it comes as a great mark of confidence that so many people reported their personal experiences and desires but particularly their questions – which naturally brings great responsibility as well. Unfortunately, mental illnesses are still heavily stigmatised, and patients and their families often have understandable inhibitions in talking about them, even though it is so important! This made us all the more overwhelmed at the level of response our initiative generated. We have to keep this in mind: More than 20,000 visitors to our website from all over the world, and 400 strong contributions, from which 446 sub-topics could be identified – we are truly proud of the result. Another thing we're naturally very pleased with is the international recognition that the project is receiving. Eva Guinan, a Professor at Harvard Medical School, was just in Vienna for 2 days, and she emphasised how innovative and trend-setting she thought the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft initiative was!

Which factor contributed most to the project's success, in your view?

Thanks to the multi-channel approach, we were able to generate considerable attention, and the major accomplishment here was to launch a discussion of the issue: that mental illnesses not only affect far more people than commonly assumed, but that the stigmatisation and helplessness that many sufferers and family members experience are also the source of massive problems. Our website, media presence and events, among other things, made a valuable contribution in this regard. A particularly decisive factor for actual participation was collaboration with our multipliers and partner organisations, through which we were able to address sufferers and their family members. This played a significant role in strengthening credibility and confidence in our initiative.

What are the areas in which the community sees the greatest need for research?

The need for research is particularly apparent when it comes to mental health or mental illness in children. Incidentally, this was also reflected in the assessment of contributions by our jury of experts. We also received lots of contributions on the subject of psychotropic drugs – lots of patients were concerned with questions on matters such as side effects or alternative forms of therapy. The areas of mental resilience and health care structures also received a great deal of attention.

What are the next steps?

In late October, the community voted on the main issues, and the voting results were again assessed by our jury of experts. Through this two-stage process, we met our expectation of surveying the wishes of the community, but also, aided by the opinion of our experts, ensuring that questions are actually taken up that will not only enrich science but also help identify gaps in the research landscape.
The next step is to compile and present the results of 'Tell Us!' together with the findings derived from them. These will be presented at a press conference scheduled for early December. One thing I can tell you already is this: the issues that researchers will have to resolve in the field of mental illness are turning out to be primarily interdisciplinary in scope.
Results of the Online-Vote “Tell us!”
The community of “Tell us!” has taken a decision: Psychotropic drugs, mental resilience and health care structures are the three most important issues for future research in the field of mental health.

Vienna, 21 October 2015 – After a successful contribution phase of the initiative “Tell us!”, which gained nearly 400 submissions from all over the world and pertained to the future research of mental illnesses, the community has now voted for the most important questions: The cluster psychotropic drugs got 22 per cent of all votes, followed by mental resilience with 19 per cent, and then the health care structure cluster, which gained 17 per cent of the vote. The remaining clusters received the following votes: New options in therapy (13 per cent), destigmatisation of the mentally ill (11 per cent), psychosomatics (10 per cent) and more precise diagnoses (8 per cent). Within two weeks, a total of 217 people took part in the online vote on the Open Innovation platform Tell us! .

In particular, participants voted for more research concerning treatment with psychotropic drugs. The research of alternative treatments, interactions and side effects, or long-term consequences, are fields which are considered as not adequately addressed by the research community. The topic mental resilience, which means the resistance to mental illnesses, was also strongly supported by the community: How can mental resistance of children be strengthened to keep them healthy, even in situations of heavy strain? In what form does media consumption influence mental health? How can relatives or nurses be better supported in order to stay resistant to mental illnesses?

International jury evaluates research topics – final results will be available within one week

Building on the online vote, an international jury of nine international experts including, among others, Dr. Ulrike Schmidt of the German Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, and the Vice-President of the German Association of Psychiatric Care, Dorothea Sauter, will evaluate the results.

For further information please kindly contact: Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft Dr. Lucia Malfent Project Manager Open Innovation in Science Phone.: +43 (0) 1 513 27 50-21 Mobile: +43 (0) 676 392 19 40 E-Mail:
Dr. Schmidt, thousands of refugees have come to Austria and Germany in recent days, and many will follow. Due to their experiences in the war and while fleeing their homes, these people have an increased risk of mental illness. What mental illnesses occur most frequently?

The most common mental illnesses among refugees are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

People develop PTSD in the wake of traumatic experiences, such as violence or flight under the kinds of conditions people from Syria are currently forced to endure. While the symptoms of PTSD vary, the main symptom consists of flashbacks. This means that the worst moments that these people have had to experience repeatedly and randomly resurface up in their mind's eye. This can lead to difficulties concentrating, and even to suicide or suicide attempts. Sufferers exhibit avoidance behaviour, meaning that they can no longer cope with doing certain things that they used to enjoy doing, out of fear. For example, after driving for days across the countryside in the back of a trafficker's lorry, hidden, cramped and in great fear, people can no longer simply climb into a car or elevator the way they used to.

Another disturbance we see in the wake of trauma is acute stress disorder, which is something that can befall anyone. No matter whether one is suffering from mental illness or not. And this can occur if you experience something particularly bad, in the acute situation. In contrast to PTSD, which occurs some time after a trauma, the acute stress reaction occurs immediately after the terrible event. Those affected do not suffer flashbacks but exhibit an acute character change instead. Either they are extremely restless, or they scream, act unusually irrationally, or barely speak or move and appear to be out of touch. This is something that can occur among refugees as well.

As already mentioned, in addition to PTSD, other psychopathological symptoms can arise as a result of traumatic experiences, particularly depressive symptoms.

Is there a group of people that is especially prone to developing such mental illnesses?

Generally speaking, women have a higher vulnerability or susceptibility to diseases such as the PTSD. Children are particularly hard-hit as well, because there are many things that they cannot yet categorise or reflect upon. Also at greater risk are people who have had mental illnesses in the past. But it should be noted: mental illness can affect anyone. The worse the situation, the more frequently mental illnesses occur, regardless of the particular population group involved.

Can people with post-traumatic stress disorder expect to be cured?

Yes, with the appropriate therapy, one can expect to be cured. This means availing oneself of psychotherapy or for some symptoms, such as insomnia, for instance, taking medication in addition. Keep in mind, though, that therapy only makes sense if the patients find themselves in secure living conditions. What this specifically means for refugees is that they are no longer on the run, have a roof over their heads and have an adequate supply of food. In the current acute situation, the best way to assist these people is with humanitarian aid. Only then can one take the next step and begin a therapy.

If a person has been traumatized over a long period of time during childhood, then at least a small portion of the illness often remains, despite therapy. But even people with severe PTSD can lead a happy life if they receive the right therapy.

What is the situation with regard to the provision of care for people seeking help?

In the past, we - the Outpatient Clinic for Trauma at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry - have taken in some refugees who have been referred to us by other hospitals in an emergency, but this is only a drop in the bucket. The fact is: every refugee who arrives here needs help.

As soon as the humanitarian aid arrives, therapeutic assistance should be offered as soon as possible. At the moment, though, even Austrians and Germans have difficulty getting treatment. In some areas, there are simply too few therapists, and certainly far too few trauma therapists. This is where large organisations need to be set in motion, such as the German and Austrian medical professional societies, national associations of physicians and therapists, etc. I think that would be very important.

There's one thing I'd like to add: my grandparents were expelled from East Prussia and then also taken in after the Second World War. That was a similar situation back then, with people fleeing from the territories of the East. But with the difference that it was the same cultural group. But I think that's a situation people should recall – those days, which were not so long ago – and try to learn from. People somehow managed to work things out then, too.
Dr. Leimüller, Tell Us! is about crowdsourcing, an open innovation method. Could you briefly explain exactly what crowdsourcing is and how the initiative Tell Us! differs from other crowdsourcing projects?

The most common form of crowdsourcing are open internet competitions in which each user can submit his own ideas as to how to solve the problem and usually, the best ideas win.

But in Tell Us! everyone is a winner: we’re not asking for concrete problem-solving ideas, but rather enquiring as to the basic problems which should be researched in the future. Thus, Tell Us! is type of problem crowdsourcing that provides new impulses to research. It is beneficial to all those affected and to carers because they can contribute to the shaping of future research.

Almost 400 contributions were submitted to the initiative Tell Us! Did you expect that there would be so many?

No. We are completely amazed that we have received so many contributions of such high quality. Normally, there are always a few unusable contributions. But it was different here; we will be able to evaluate all contributions. We knew that the theme preyed on many people’s minds. But that we were able to convince so many of them to express themselves and to write such valuable, and sometimes lengthy, contributions is a huge surprise and lays much weight to the initiative. Our partner organisations in the whole of Austria and Germany have helped us very much. Their activities have mobilised many people.

Do you know who the people are that have taken part in Tell Us! ?

The contributors come from all age groups and from different professions and show a good mix: a large share, namely 40 per cent, are affected by mental illnesses themselves, a further 17 per cent are family members of people with mental disorders. But besides those in this private field, also those in the professional field participated: 26 per cent of the contributors come from care professions. 13 per cent are psychotherapists, psychologists, neurologists or psychiatrists.

Please explain what will now happen to the contributions and how the project will proceed.

We’re at the beginning of an intensive summer: every single contribution will, as a matter of course, be anonymised, read and evaluated by a team of analysts which will be supported by experts in mental illnesses. It’s all about qualitative data analysis and detecting patterns: which topics recur again and again and are supported by several contributions. In September, when the most important areas have been established, we will invite the users to vote, after which a jury of experts will decide which are the most important issues to be chosen.

Can one already predict how research will benefit from this initiative?

On the one hand, research will benefit methodologically - even before we have exact results. Tell Us! will clearly demonstrate that sufferers, family members and professional carers have a lot of knowledge that can be used in research to attain better and faster results which society can actually use. Such projects clearly show that research processes have to be altered and freshly thought through. On the other hand, research will have an insight into where the shoe pinches, which issue have to be tackled much more intensively. I am convinced that researchers can learn a lot from the “practical world” and will approach new new topics in future.

Dr. Gertraud Leimüller is co-initiator of Open Innovation in Science and Chief Executive of winnovation (, an open innovation method enterprise specialising in research and consultancy in Vienna. Together with her experts, she supports Open Innovation in Science, amongst others in the analysis process.
“Tell us!” has reached almost 20,000 people worldwide
Within ten weeks, 386 contributions of high quality were submitted by affected people, their families and experts to the initiative Open Innovation in Science
The community voting about research topics will take place from September 22 to October 6 via

Vienna, July 10 2015 – Under the Motto “Tell us!”, the initiative “Open Innovation in Science” (OIS) by the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft has reached almost 22,000 people from 83 countries. During 10 weeks – from April 16 to July 6 – affected people, their families and experts had the opportunity to submit their contributions to research on mental illnesses. More than 380 suggestions of high quality on what should be researched in the field of mental illnesses were submitted.

Josef Pröll, president of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, states: “Drawing the balance of this first part of the OIS initiative, we can say that this is overwhelming. The number, and most notably the quality of the submitted contributions shows that our approach to integrate in research processes the knowledge of those affected and those involved struck a cord. We are very satisfied with the first results of our pioneering project. Now it is imperative to make use of the momentum and swiftly analyse the results and play them back to those who were involved, as well as the public.”

Patients, women and university graduates contributed most

The success of the first step of this initiative, which is the first of its kind in Europe, confirms the results of a representative study that was conducted beforehand: According to this study, almost 80 per cent of the population wish for a stronger involvement in scientific research. According to an internal analysis, about 40 per cent of all contributors who voluntarily gave their personal details considered themselves as patients, 17 per cent as family members. About 25 per cent of all submitters stated to operate in the field of health care and nursing. 13 per cent of all participants were psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists.

“Almost 70 per cent of all contributors were female; six out of ten have graduated from university. We are especially delighted about the international interest in the project: Slightly more than two thirds of the contributions received came from Austria and Germany, with a similar number of submissions received from each country respectively. Almost one third of the contributors to “Tell us!” come from the rest of the world. Every tenth participant submitted from the USA, almost every twentieth from Russia”, Claudia Lingner, initiator of the initiative and Managing Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft states.

Voting on research questions from September 22 to October 6 via

All 386 contributions are currently analysed with the help of experts from the field and finally categorized. Following analysis by experts, contributions will be summarised into topic clusters for future research on mental illnesses. The defined research areas will then be made available on the platform for all registered participants who, from September 22 to October 6, will then have the opportunity to vote on the topics they deem most relevant. Afterwards, an international jury of experts will compile a final ranking and will formulate new research questions. By the end of the year, these research questions and topic clusters will be provided to science for further research, and the results of the crowdsourcing-process will be presented to the public.

The results of the crowdsourcing process will furthermore be put to use in the “Lab for Open Innovation in Science” (LOIS). LOIS is an exclusive education programme for the application of Open Innovation methods and principles, and was designed as part of this overall initiative. LOIS addresses researchers and scientists as of post-doc level worldwide who work in the field of health sciences at Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and other (non-profit) research organisations. As of April 2016, LOIS will provide 20 selected researchers and scientists with the opportunity to learn about the application of Open Innovation methods in the course of 13 training modules. Furthermore, they will be able to test Open Innovation principles along the entire research process. The extra-occupational programme spans over a period of 12 months.

Researchers and scientists who are interested can apply online via for this unique educational programme. The deadline for applications is September 22, 2015. Further information about the programme is available via

About “Open Innovation in Science”

“Tell us!” and LOIS are part of the unique initiative “Open Innovation in Science”. This project it the first of its kind in Europe and aims at establishing Open Innovation methods in science. The entire initiative is conducted by the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft. International support is provided by a renowned Advisory Board; among the members are representatives of the WHO, Harvard Medical School and Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. The targeted opening of innovation processes should help to bring new knowledge from outside into research. Further information is available via

About the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft

The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG) is the research incubator in the area of health sciences in Austria and operates 18 research institutes and -cluster with about 600 employees. Acting according to its motto “Research for the people”, the LBG deals with socially relevant research questions.

For further information please kindly contact:
Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft
Dr. Lucia Malfent
Project Manager Open Innovation in Science
Tel.: +43 (0) 1 513 27 50-21
Mobil: +43 (0) 676 392 19 40
When, in the case of mental illness, is a hospital stay meaningful?

It is difficult to make a sweeping statement - a hospital stay is always a matter for individual consideration, but is best in joint consultation with the clinical psychologist or the psychiatric consultant. A hospital stay is necessary if a mental illness appears both acute and severe and if those concerned are self-endangered or might endanger others. To protect someone from injuring themselves or from taking their own life, they are temporarily admitted to hospital into a so-called involuntary commitment area, in order to protect this person. Once treatment has started, the condition of the affected person usually improves quickly; subsequently, they can be taken on by a day unit, or sent home under appropriate continued care. Continuity of treatment is particularly important in order for the patient to receive optimal support for re-entry into everyday life.

Where does the advantage of inpatient treatment lie?

The prime advantage of inpatient treatment is that the patient can take on-site advantage of a more comprehensive therapy. For example, they can benefit from psychological group work with other patients, the frequently difficult therapeutic adjustment to medication can often be better undertaken when being monitored, exercise therapies, occupational therapies and also active care can be undertaken if necessary. And above all, the patient can take advantage of the free, important clinical-psychological treatment aimed at individual problem-solving.

The topic of convalescence in connection with mental disorders is rarely addressed – why is this? Are the chances of recovering from a mental illness lower than those associated with physical illnesses?

You can't quite say that. Recovery can either take longer or shorter – depending on the severity of the mental illness. It is not easy for the layman to discern the healing process of a mentally ill person. For example, in a depressive patient the lack of energy in the morning is usually a major issue. In order to become active within a clinical-psychological treatment program, people with a mental disorder try to follow the activity plan they set for themselves. Family members mostly only see that daily activities are again being carried out. What may be a milestone for a patient, is possibly only a trip to the post box for an outsider.

And I may pose a counter question: who decides whether someone has recovered or not? The person affected has healed when she/he sees her/himself in the position of being able to cope with her/his private and working life. Depending on the diagnosis, length of the illness and treatment measures, the healing process takes place at different dimensions of time. It is good to know that, for example, a depressive episode has a particularly good chance of healing fast with the correct treatment, which includes clinical-psychological treatment to understand the illness, to induce behavioural changes and to find a solution; medication support to re-establish the balance of messenger substances in the brain and motoric activation.

How do you rate the initiative of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft in including citizens in research into mental disorders? In which areas could the knowledge of those directly affected be particularly beneficial?

I consider the initiative to be crucial and am pleased that the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft is addressing the topic of mental illnesses in this way. Those affected, their social environment and experts will be included in the discussion and together they can contribute to a multifaceted exchange. With this initiative, the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft is creating the possibility to speak openly about mental illnesses and to diminish reservations on these kinds of illnesses. It helps to de-stigmatise people with mental illnesses. Those affected will be given a voice, and this, in turn, creates a climate of understanding.

I am delighted that the Professional Organisation of Austrian Psychologists is one of the co-operation partners of this initiative; I wish the initiative all the best!

Dr. Sandra M. Lettner is President of the Berufsverbandes Österreichischer Psychologinnen und Klinische- und Gesundheitspsychologin (Association of Professional Austrian Psychologists). She works as a clinical and health psychologist, clinical neuropsychologist, emergency psychologist, bio-feedback therapist and psychological pain therapist in Ried, Upper Austria.
Interview with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thun-Hohenstein
Since 2009 Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thun-Hohenstein is head of the University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Salzburg. In our interview he gives answers to questions about mental disorders at children.

As a parent, how can one assess that certain behavioural patterns are not in compliance with normal development in one's own child? Are there warning signals, or anything similar, that one can be aware of?

One has to be sensitively aware if children can no longer manage their peer relationships adequately. One notices for example, that they withdraw, or frequently get into conflicts and cannot cope with them as befits their age group. Other indications are disproportionately emotional outbursts, for example if a child gets very sad or angry above and beyond the norm. But also extreme conditions – on top of the world or down in despair. A further indication would be anxiety that exceeds the norm of developmental anxieties. Every child is afraid of the dark, every child is afraid of the "bogey man", but if anxiety is so excessive that functioning in life is disturbed, i.e. that children are no longer integrated into their peer community, that they don't want to go to school any more, to Kindergarten, or that their performance lags behind, then these are things which need to be handled quickly.

What recommendations would you give to parents? When does one react? Which path should I take first as mother or father?

As far as I'm concerned, the following rule applies: If one notices unusual behaviour in one's child, it should initially be observed for about four weeks to see whether or not it goes away by itself. One has to try to understand which factors trigger the behaviour or could have triggered it, what problems it causes, what difficulties one has in the family. And if it has not dissipated after three to four weeks, I would seek professional help. In Austria, one is at a slight disadvantage - in other countries, one could immediately go to a child psychologist. But the situation here is improving - in Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and in Carinthia, there are sufficient resident private child and adolescent psychologists. In addition, there has been an increase in outpatient clinics, and there are enough clinics in Austria, but their capacities are still too limited. But the first path to take would be to go to a practicing child psychologist or to a resident child psychologist or psychotherapist.

Which mental disorders appear particularly frequently in children? And can one discern a typical development here?

The most frequent disorders in children are anxiety disorders; approximately 6.5 per cent of children have an anxiety disorder, followed by – with about six per cent – disorders of social behaviour, such as the "naughty children", the "recalcitrant children" who break the rules, who cannot integrate themselves into the class. Next are attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders with three per cent and depression with 2.6 per cent. Finally, less common disorders such as eating disorders or autism, all of which are less than one per cent. But they have a great impact due to the degree of severity of the disorder and the way it interferes in life. During the past years, there has been a definite shift to eating disorders and they have taken on a greater meaning. Social behaviour disorders have definitely come to the fore and ADHD is important, but altogether one has to say that the percentage of mental disorders has not increased and remained stable for decades. In the overall population, the share of mentally disturbed children is about 20 per cent; the share of those that actually fulfil the disease criteria is about 10 per cent. We see the same situation internationally. There has just been a study in the Newington Children´s Hospital Journal and also the German Bella Study and studies in Austria provide the same figures.

You have already mentioned that the help offered for mentally ill children is not optimal, but that it has improved. But if the offer is not optimal can prevention then even be a topic?

Primary prevention is a social responsibility and it isn't the responsibility of psychiatry. It is a responsibility that the society has to take on. It includes, for example, the prevention of poverty. The group of single parents are at high risk of poverty due to the fact that they are entirely responsible for their child, that they have to go to work, that they have to do everything for the child. And that is naturally a huge burden. And the state could contribute something towards this. Thus, poverty prevention is a very important issue. Another essential topic is the education system: the better educated – and not just regarding the accumulation of knowledge, but also being socially educated - the lower the risk of a mental disorder. There are completely different concepts in different countries. For example, ‘Headstart’ – which involves really early intervention in risk families, immediately following birth or even during pregnancy. There are many alternatives, which the state, respectively the health care system, can implement even without psychiatrists. Therefore, the lack of child psychiatrists is not really relevant regarding primary prevention. However, ‘fighters’ are always necessary to push this theme forward. And it's there that the child psychiatrists are then lacking.

You mentioned that one needs ‘fighters’ for this theme – the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft tries to promote this, how do you rate this initiative?

Well, I was really amazed by this initiative, especially in view of the fact that research is usually rather ‘closed’. A few researchers do this, they come up with an idea, they apply for a grant … and then someone immediately opens it up to the public: I find that really ingenious. People know a lot about themselves and they know a great deal about their disorders and have very intelligent questions about these disorders, which we are, however, often unable to answer. And I find crowdfunding on an intellectual level to be an extremely exciting approach. I wish you every success with this project, because it is really great.

In your function as head of the Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie (University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) you are also concerned with research. From your point of view, what are the unresolved issues which research should, and could, address.

That is a fascinating question that is dear to all our hearts: we want to understand from where these illnesses come from. Today, we have very complex models; we know that there are social, physical, psychological, and situation factors, which facilitate the emergence of a mental disorder. And I believe that this is the most important path towards the future understanding of which factors contribute to the emergence of the disorder. And: how can I then treat a disorder causally, respectively in the sense of preventing the disorder – because if I know all the factors, I can even better apply prevention. That, for me, would be a main goal / main direction for future research.
Tell us: four more weeks to have your say in research on mental illnesses
Interim results of the unique European initiative ‚Tell us! by the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft demonstrate great interest and active participation, especially in Germany, Austria, the USA and Russia
The closing date has been extended because of the encouraging response
Until July 6th, affected people, their families and experts can submit suggestions and help shape the study of mental illnesses in the future on

Vienna, June 2nd 2015 – Being involved instead of being affected: The positive response to the initiative Tell us! highlights that many patients and relatives are eager to share their experience and questions regarding mental illnesses. The platform provides an opportunity to make suggestions concerning which unsolved problems and research questions in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses should be addressed. For the first time, citizens are able to actively shape science. Contributing to this unique initiative in Europe is still possible until July 6th.

“We received a three-digit-number of high quality contributions for the future study of mental illnesses in the first six weeks of the initiative. Because of the high number of enquiries by interested parties who asked for more time to elaborate on their suggestions, we have decided to extend the Open Innovation platform for four more weeks” says Claudia Lingner, CEO of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft. “The response so far has confirmed our assumption that there is a need for patients, as well as their relatives and friends, to share their personal experiences and questions regarding the study of mental illnesses. Also other research projects can benefit from the insights obtained by this Open Innovation process in health research, thus contributing to the scientific community at large.”

New interest from around the world by those affected and their families

The 7,000 visitors on our website, where participants can draft their inputs, are patients, relatives and experts from 63 countries – particularly from Germany, Austria, the USA and Russia. Every eighth submission was made by a patient, every fourth by a family member. Every fifth post was written by a psychologist or a psychotherapist and every twentieth even by a physician. Different age groups from 20 up to 70 years of age are equally represented, whereas the number of female participants (60 per cent) is slightly higher than that of male participants – that is the current status.

“We hope to attract the same amount of interest in this new process of doing science in the remaining four weeks”, says Claudia Lingner. An international panel of experts will analyze the contributions after the closing date and compile the findings for the community to vote on in the fall of this year. Subsequently, the identified research topics, as well as the learnings gained from this particular innovation process will be published.

About Open Innovation in Science

The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft has started the initiative Tell us! in spring 2015 in order to enable interested parties and affected people to take part in the research process by generating research questions. The focus of the initiative lies on mental health and it is part of an ongoing project dealing with Open Innovation in Science. Opening up the innovation process at pre-determined points in time allows for outside knowledge to improve research. For more information visit:

About the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft

The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft is Austria’s independent research incubator which focuses on Health Sciences. 550 employees work in 18 research institutions. According to its motto “close to people”, LBS focuses on research questions that are relevant for society.

Contact for further information
Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft
Dr. Lucia Malfent
Project Manager Open Innovation in Science
Tel.: +43 (0) 1 513 27 50-21
Mobil: +43 (0) 676 392 19 40
Closing date has been extendet until July 6th!
The positive response to the initiative Tell us! highlights that many patients and relatives are eager to share their experience and questions regarding mental illnesses. Contributing to this unique initiative in Europe is still possible until July 6th. Furthermore your contributions can also now be submitted by e-mail to - without registration!
Dorothea Sauter is our new jury member!
We are happy to announce our new jury member: Dorothea Sauter, Vice-President of the German Association of psychiatric care (DFPP e.V.), Project Manager for the documentation of care at the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association (LWL) and textbook author.

"Psychiatric workers in all occupational categories want to do the right thing for those affected. This can best be achieved if their practical knowledge is in compliance with the goals and needs of their patients, and if their knowledge is conform with current research standards. There is an abundance of research on short-term therapies and processes, as well as drugs. But there is little validated knowledge as to what helps in the long run, what ensures sovereignty of life despite limitations, what non-professional helpers can achieve, or what people, who have difficulty expressing themselves, are experiencing. Research topics are usually defined by those who finance research. However, meaningful research must deal with those topics, which are important for the sufferers and their families, as well as for all those who offer support. It is therefore important to question these topics in detail and only then to put them on the agenda of the research world. "
New jury members!
We are delighted to announce the newest members of our "Tell us!" jury. The jury is now “complete” and we are proud that these seven high-ranking, international experts from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, nursing and help for relatives could join us.

Ulrike Schmidt, Head of the Outpatient Clinic for Trauma; Research Group Leader Molecular Psychotraumatology, Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatrics, Senior Physician, Head of the Trauma Department
Johannes Wancata, Head of the Clinical Department of Social Psychiatry, University Hospital of Vienna, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy; Co-odinator of "Mental Health & Behavioural Medicine"
Peter Stippl, Psychotherapist; Supervisor; President of the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapie
Dorothea Sauter, Vice-President of the German Association of Psychiatric Care; Project Manager for the Documentation of Care at the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association (LWL); Textbook Author
Sandra Lettner, President of the Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists
Edwin Ladinser, General Manager, HPE Austria - Help for Relatives of People with Psychological Disorders
Werner Schöny, Chairman pro mente Upper Austria, President pro mente Austria
Jutta Fiegl, Vice-Rector, Sigmund Freud University

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new members!
Which role do relatives play in the life of mentally ill people?
On 12th May (5pm - 6pm ECST), Mr. Ladinser from HPE Austria ( Help for Relatives of People with Psychological Disorders) will spend one hour answering your questions to the topic "Which role do relatives play in the life of mentally ill people?" through a Live Chat on our platform Tell us!.
We are happy to announce a new, high-ranking Expert in our Jury: Mag. Dr. Peter Stippl, President of the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy. In the interview he gives answers to questions about burnout.

Question: How can one recognize burnout both in oneself and in others?

I would like to briefly define what my interpretation of burnout is. It's an imbalance between give and take – achieving and relaxing – doing something for others and something for oneself. With burnout, this balance is completely out of equilibrium. This condition can be compared to extreme exhaustion. One is no longer able to completely recover, has trouble falling asleep, cannot sleep through the night and can also no longer relax. Burnout is truly a breakdown.

Question: How can one recognize burnout in others as an outsider?

As is so often the case, it's a series of several symptoms. One becomes less patient, more aggressive. One is irritated by the smallest detail. One is no longer resilient and mistakes occur that would otherwise not – careless mistakes. The risk of accident increases considerably. The views of people on the path to burnout become unrealistic. An example of this would be a building site supervisor who, in spite of late delivery and tight building site calculations, frantically tries to adhere to the deadline. "And if we work 15 hours per day for the next 24 days - we will stick to our commitment!" The quality of the work?, the risk of accidents?, the risk of mistakes? – None of these issues are taken into consideration! "If something happens, we will have to work twice as "hard"!"
One loses the sense of one's own condition – the body's warning signals, such as stomach-ache are “pushed back” by taking medicine. One gets so obsessed that even a dialogue with oneself is practically no longer possible. This condition is usually only stopped by a breakdown. In this context, a breakdown is the body’s last chance of rescue. Metaphorically, it is similar to a heart attack, which lays the body "out flat" so that the brain can still be supplied with blood. And it's similar with burnout. The body collapses in order to survive.

Question: Can other mental disorders develop as a result of a burnout?

Let me explain thus: there is the phenomenon that various mental disorders can result from other diseases. A depression, for example, can be masked by alcohol. It is often the case that in alcoholics, the primary mental disorder is not the addiction, but the depression – which he/she sedates through false self-treatment with alcohol. Similarly, there are various types of high-risk sports – some people suffer from an identity crisis but this form of risk gives them a kick, a sort of life motivation. And it can be just as likely that someone, in avoiding onerous thoughts, in ignoring sadness, or in coming to terms with traumatic events, chooses a path which is so close to self-exploitation and self-destruction that burnout is a logical consequence. But one sees the burnout much earlier than the actual cause because the hidden sadness or depression is often not recognisable to an outsider.

Question: Does that imply that burnout is more apparent than many other mental disorders?

Correct, and there can also be an underlying inappropriate attempt at compensation. But one has to be careful not to solely connect burnout to a job or work. It's a stress and overload problem – that can just as easily occur in voluntary work, in taking care of relatives round the clock, or similar. And as I said earlier: burnout occurs when give and take – achieving and relaxing - are significantly thrown out of equilibrium.

Question: And what happens after a burnout?

I'd like to say something about the duration of recovery: the normal rehab (rehabilitation, paid by the public pension scheme to maintain earning capacity) is 22-23 days, let's say 3 weeks; with burnout, the rehab time is set at 6-8 weeks. The public pension scheme has set this duration because it really takes that long. A massive burnout disorder urgently needs a total recovery time of at least 4-6 months.

Burnout is an extreme crisis of the whole person. And a crisis in itself always offers a chance. If one therefore uses the time following the breakdown to step back from that which has taken place and, under the circumstances, to put one's own lifestyle, one's priorities and values into place, to organize them anew, then the chance opens up to emerge from a burnout with renewed strength and as a healthy person.

After a 30-year career in business, Mag. Dr. Peter Stippl decided to take on a new challenge. Presently, he is President of the Österreichische Bundesverband für Psychotherapie (Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy) and works as a psychotherapist, supervisor, trainer and coach.
Take part in the poll for our second live chat!
On 12th May (5pm - 6pm ECST), Mr. Ladinser from HPE Austria ( Help for Relatives of People with Psychological Disorders) will spend one hour answering your questions through a Live Chat on our platform Tell us!. You can choose from the following topics:

•Which role do relatives play in the life of mentally ill people?
• „I can only do well, if you do“ - Right?
•People with mental illnesses need good therapies – but what else?

In order to take part in the poll, you must be registered on the platform.
Take part in in the poll for our Live Chat!
On 29th April (5pm - 6pm ECST), Mr. Grammer from pro mente Upper Austria will spend one hour answering your questions through a Live Chat on our platform Tell us!. You can choose from the following topics:

• What can I do to nurture and maintain mental health?
• How do I conduct myself when dealing with mentally ill family members or colleagues?
• Which kind of support services are currently provided for people with mental illnesses? – At which stages are these services helpful?

In order to take part in the poll, you must be registered on the platform.
Interview with Alfred Pritz
Principal Pritz, you are the head of the first University for Psychotherapy Sciences in the world. Is psychotherapy a suitable treatment for anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders can be adequately treated by psychotherapy and this is usually superior to pharmacological measures.

Anxiety has an important signalling function in social relationships. Anxiety turns into an illness when the person affected by it starts to suffer considerably due to his/her condition and can no longer find a way out.

What is the greatest burden for patients with anxiety disorders?

The greatest burden in anxiety disorders is the feeling of helplessness and the lack of leading a self-determined life.

The initiative Tell us! launched by the Ludwig Boltzmann Society, involves citizens in the research of mental illnesses – how do you assess this approach?

This approach is remarkable because it not only focuses on symptoms, but also offers people the opportunity to outline the development of anxiety in context with their individual lives. This allows for a new understanding through the inclusion of subjective data that contributes to the improvement of available treatment programmes.

About Alfred Pritz:

Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Alfred Pritz, psychoanalyst, is Secretary General of the European Association for Psychotherapy and President of the World Council for Psychotherapy. He is co-founder and principal of the first University for Psychotherapy Sciences in association with the Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Alfred Pritz
Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität
Wien Paris Berlin Ljubljana Milano Linz
Freudplatz 1
A-1020 Vienna
The starting signal
On 16th April the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft hosted “Meet Science”. During this event, the initiative “Tell us!” was officially launched. State secretary Mahrer has opened the online platform, which is now welcoming contributions until 16th June 2015. You can watch the event on our live-stream at: and afterwards on!
Tell us
Your observations in dealing with mental illnesses are of great value to research. Post your contributions here on the website until 16th June 2015. Experts will analyse your contributions and experiences and use them as a basis for prospective research projects.