The organizations of people affected or those of their relatives are contributing in the planning of Psychiatry as well as in informing of the public and thus the reduction of prejudice against the mentally ill. Not only the campaigns and programmes that are launched by these organisations play an important role, but also their function as multiplicators – because a dedicated member has no little impact on his or her personal surroundings, where it spreads: "Information and Research. The more we understand, the more we can spread this knowledge, the more we can inform and make sure through education that this knowledge is understood, there more it will become common-sense, I believe. So, I think this has shown in all areas in history, one always has to try and provide knowledge. Knowledge prevents prejudice. Knowledge also prevents taboos and, hopefully soon, it also prevents stigmatization of mental illnesses“ (I12: 136-242).
Some of the people interviewed do not see the connection between information and de-stigmatization as being that linear. They express their scepticism, if education can actually end prejudice – as prejudices are by definition unfounded, predefined value-statements that defy every attempt of deconstruction. So educational campaigns serve also to salve one´s conscience with the thought to have done something: “Education is helping like antibiotics are helping with a viral infection, the flu. Of course, they do not help, but it´s soothing the nerves” (I18: 321-324). Also those who are a little less sceptic towards attempts of education do not consider the lack of information as the general cause for stigmatization of mentally ill people, because there is enough information out there to make up one´s own mind about mental illness. It is more about disinterest in education, respectively the greater interest in scandalous headlines than in rational-educational information: "I am actually not sure, if people really want to know that? Maybe they don´t want to read about it. My impression is they are more interested in the negative, these headlines, this - oh, something´s happened and so on. I don´t know, there are enough offers to get this information“ (I19: 154-158).
NASSEHI A., VON DER HAGEN-DEMSZKY A. & Mayr K. (2009), The Impact of the WHO on the German Mental Health Policy, KnowandPol report, 19.