A red and white post stands in the middle of a narrow path that runs along the crown of an embankment.

Work with relatives and friends of people with mental problems

Work with family and friends of people with mental problems begins with themselves.

We see work with people secondarily affected by mental problems as a process which is ideally structured and decided upon by each individual themselves. We support this process as equals, from peer to peer.

Our many offers of help are directed towards friends, neighbours, colleagues, flatmates, partners, families and parents of people with mental health problems. We put people in touch with others who have had similar experiences and build networks that help people proactively find their role, activate their potential to help themselves and leave behind feelings of shame, self-blame or self-reproach. Protecting secondarily affected individuals from being over-burdened is central to the work of the ApK.

We dissociate ourselves from the medical understanding of the term ‘mental illness’ because we recognise that using this terminology leads to stigmatisation and distancing. Instead we promote an open-minded understanding of phenomena such as psychoses and depressive illnesses and an attitude that is respectful and based on using or mobilising resources.

We work with institutions through constructive three-way dialogue and take an active political role.

We establish a three-way dialogue between a person with mental health problems, members of their social network and medical professionals on the basis of shared aims and interests. The ApK considers itself an integral part of the care system: We are convinced that family members and friends of those primarily affected by mental health issues should be involved in the process of psychiatric treatment and should not be excluded or discriminated against. In our political role as an association of relatives and friends of people with mental illness in Berlin we represent the interests of family members and other informal caregivers by exercising our right to vote in various state forums of the state of Berlin.

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about our work. We would be delighted to hear from you.

Your team at ApK Berlin