12 March 2021

Member Spotlight March 2021

Ellipse 20

Irrsinnig Menschlich in a few lines?

We at Irrsinnig Menschlich, known in English as Madly Human, have been motivating young people with our prevention programmes for over 20 years. We seek to better understand psychological crises and mental illnesses, and to reduce the stigma, anxieties and prejudices associated with psychological crises, as well as to boost confidence, to spread knowledge and to outline approaches, at the same time as improving attitudes, promoting a readiness to seek help and fostering resilience.

Our international non-profit organisation based in Leipzig, Germany, is committed to cross-sectoral work in the fields of education (school, vocational training, higher education) and health (prevention, provision). Our core competence lies in developing and testing as well as implementing and scaling universal prevention programmes for young people, working alongside our partners to achieve this aim.

We work in accordance with the social entrepreneurship approach, which aims to solve problems by applying innovative and entrepreneurial concepts. This is why, our founder, Dr Manuela Richter-Werling, was elected to the international Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.

We will receive input from different countries across Europe, have plenty of time for questions and discussions and, to make up for the fact that we will not be meeting in-person, we will send MHE members a goodie bag with some items that will hopefully trigger ideas about mental health in a positive way.

Please note that translations will be available in multiple languages. Registration is open until 8 December 2021.


What are your main activities?

Our programmes have been awarded and externally evaluated many times. In 2019, in collaboration with 100 partners, we reached more than 40,000 young people in schools, vocational training and higher education. A study by McKinsey & Company and Ashoka from 2019 shows that our “Mental? So What! Good Mental Health at School” programme yields a social return on investment (SROI): “scaling this initiative would be an excellent investment”.

Our prevention programmes:

  • Psychisch fit lernen / Verrückt? Na und! (Mentally healthy learning / Mental? So What!) for schools
  • Psychisch fit studieren (Mental well-being in higher education) for higher education
  • Psychisch fit arbeiten (Mental well-being at work) for companies

The programme “Mental? So What! Good mental health at school” is distributed via social franchising in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There are cooperative partnerships at local and national level with community mental health service providers such as charities, public health departments and youth welfare offices.

We offer a tested and scientifically evaluated concept with basic material already available in English. Together with you, we would like to: implement our evidence-based programmes in your country, exchange experiences relating to the development, testing and expansion of low-threshold primary preventive interventions for promoting the mental health of young people und mount a powerful lobby for reducing the stigma attached to mental illness and fighting discrimination against people with mental health issues as well as promoting their inclusion.


What are your main priorities?

We work towards reducing stigma as it is the main obstacle to improving mental health. Our main focus here is to raise awareness and end public and structural discrimination. The combination of information, education and contact with other members of the stigmatised group proves to be a promising anti-stigma strategy.

Our approach

  • We use the settings approach—in school, higher education and companies. It is our aim to change frameworks as well as individual behaviour.
  • We easily verbalise taboo topics, open doors and encourage participants and institutions to continue to create a needs-oriented environment.
  • In accordance with the participatory approach , we always work with teams consisting of both a professionally and a personally qualified expert. The professional experts come from the fields of prevention, health promotion and psychosocial care. The personal experts have experienced and recovered from mental crises.
  • We work in accordance with the basic principles of mental health literacy (MHL) and promote help-seeking behaviour at various levels: we support young individuals and certain professional groups like teachers, school social workers and professionals working in child and youth welfare services.

Where can we find out more?

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