Mental health

Mental health affects us all and it is very common to experience mental health issues at some point in our lives: In Switzerland, around 5% of the population considers themselves under severe psychological stress and roughly 30% suffers from depression at least once in their lifetime. But although mental health issues are so common, there is still a lot of stigma and taboo around them and talking about experiences of mental illness can be rather difficult.

On this website, you can watch, listen and read from people who talk about their personal experiences with mental health and illness. Most have experienced mental health issues themselves, but some are involved in different ways e.g. as family or friends. They share their experiences with symptoms, with the care system, they talk about their everyday life with the illness, about what they have found to be helpful and about their experiences with talking about their mental health. To be true to the vast range of experiences, the experiences that are shared here stem from people of different age groups, gender, and background. Most of them have either suffered from depression or from psychosis.

We hope that this website can serve many people as a resource for experience-based information and that it encourages open and empathetic conversations on mental health.

If you want to share your experiences here, you are very welcome to contact us! We are also looking forward to hearing your feedback and ideas on this website.

  • Credits

    This website is one output of the research project ‘Drüber reden! Aber wie?’ co-lead by Yvonne Ilg, Anke Maatz and Henrike Wiemer at the Psychiatric Hospital in collaboration with the German Department, both University of Zurich.

    The specific development of this website is financially supported by the Hans and Marianne Schwyn Stiftung.


    Anke Maatz

    Anke Maatz trained in medicine and philosophy at the universities of Munich, Heidelberg, Jena (Germany) and Durham (U.K.) qualifying with an MA dissertation on phenomenological psychopathology and a medical doctorate in experimental attachment theory. After a project with medical anthropologists studying clinicians’ experiences and conceptions of functional illness in Durham, she was a postdoctoral researcher on the interdisciplinary project “’Schizophrenia’ – reception, semantic shift and criticism of a concept” in Zurich from 2013 to 2016. From 2016 to 2019, she was a research fellow at the UZH funded by Filling-the-Gap. She is the co-founder and co-coordinator of the interfaculty initiative Language&Medicine. Since 2013, she has also been training as a psychiatric resident at the University Hospital of Psychiatry, where, since 2020, she leads the young investigator group ‘Humanities in Mental Health’.

    Together with Yvonne Ilg and Henrike Wiemer, she co-leads the research project ‘Drüber reden! Aber wie?’ which strongly contributes to the development of this website.

    Yvonne Ilg

    Yvonne Ilg studied German language and literature, history and Popular Culture Studies at the universities of Zurich and Berlin and worked as a doctoral researcher on the interdisciplinary project “’Schizophrenia’: Reception, semantic shift, and criticism of a concept in the 20th century“. In her PhD thesis, she analysed the career of the nowadays highly contested term “schizophrenia” within everyday German language from 1908 until 2009. Since 2019 she works as a postdoctoral researcher (Seminar-Oberassistentin) in linguistics at the Department of German Studies at the University of Zurich. She has co-founded the DFG Network >Linguistik und Medizin< and the UZH initiative Language&Medicine both of which she is co-coordinating.

    Together with Anke Maatz and Henrike Wiemer, she is currently working on the project ‘Drüber reden! Aber wie?’ and on this Mental Health module.

    Henrike Wiemer

    Henrike Wiemer had her first psychiatric inpatient treatment in Germany in 1998, at the age of 14. Multiple institutionalized treatments and psychiatric assessments followed until Henrike was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 18.

    Since then she has had several more psychotic episodes and inpatient stays, but she has also known times at which she has lived with hardly any symptoms at all. In these intervals, Henrike finished high-school (German Abitur), moved to Switzerland and obtained a Bachelor`s degree in German Linguistics and Psychology from the University of Zürich in 2016. To earn a living, Henrike has been working as a self-employed German teacher since 2017.

    Henrike has always been interested in sharing her experience of schizophrenia and in exploiting her experience to contribute to advanced schizophrenia research. Since 2018 she has been involved with the project ‘Drüber reden! Aber wie?’. Within this project, she has shared her experiences with mental illness in a narrative interview and started to engage in the question how psychotic experiences can be put into words. She is also interested in other people`s experiences with talking about mental health issues.

    Currently she is working on this Mental Health module together with Yvonne Ilg and Anke Maatz.

    Advisory panel

  • Help & Support

    You can find information on all sorts of mental health related issues at Pro Mente Sana.

    If you are looking for someone to talk to, you can visit Dargebotene Hand or call 143 directly.

    If you are urgently seeking medical help, please call 144.

I would like to share my personal experience on this topic. Get in contact with us