Explore the Benefits

The stigma about mental disorders is still quite common. Public outreach and consumer and carer involvement is key to counteract prejudice and negative attitudes against patients with mental health problems and helps to improve compliance and therapeutic outcomes. Moreover, comprehensive involvement of patients in research and development of new strategies and pathways to and within care impacts outcomes in a favourable manner. C-I-R-C outreach programs address all relevant target groups, from the public to patients and their relatives, advocacy groups, practitioners, and healthcare stakeholders.

Public Science

C-I-R-C uses a systematic, research-oriented approach for understanding and preventing mental health problems. This understanding is necessary to assure the desired impact on community health and for selecting and/or developing prevention and intervention strategies. Many people, organizations, and systems are involved in preventing mental health problems, which highlights the strong dependency on an interdisciplinary team. We will develop citizen science projects and use manifold public outreach formats like Science Nights or Science Slams to make our science public and understandable to the community.

We regularly organise workshops, annual meetings and international conferences.

Jena will host the 2021  International ISTRY Conference (www.istry2021.com), with F. Zepf serving as the current ISTRY president and conference host.

Patient Care and Involvement

Involving patients and their families builds on actively lived partnerships with children and adolescents and their families, as well as with adult patients, their carers, relatives as well as other stakeholders and the wider public. The need for care is also a particular challenge for the family members providing care and is associated with considerable stress. In the project ReDiCare we support highly stressed family caregivers by tiered counseling approach and brief telephone psychotherapy.We established:

  • Patient representatives for all age groups
  • Psychosocial working & educational groups
  • Workshops with and by consumers
  • Psychosis Trialogue with patients & carers
  • More than 128 mental health self-help groups
  • Approx. 50 groups on different psychiatric diagnoses
  • Networks of research-friendly general practitioners (DESAM-ForNet)
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Scientific Sundays
  • GErman NEtwork for REsearch on AuToimmune Encephalitis (GENERATE)

Research addressing the influence of novel biologically-based diagnostics and interventions may not only augment psychotherapy but could also interfere with it, and how this may impact change and sustainability of interventions can be addressed (timing & sequencing of biological & non-biological interventions to maximize efficacy). With the current Corona-pandemic and local policies on social distancing the advancement of digital technologies and online opportunities for consumer participation (Family Coach Nursing, “Familiencoach Pflege” AOK Health Insurance as well as methods of consumer participation that are inclusive (people with disability, people for whom German is not their first language, children and young people) are regularly reviewed and updated (incl. telephone-based, video-based, and online support services; e.g. development of internet-based intervention for treating posttraumatic stress disorder).

The vision towards better implementation, outreach, and patient care is to bring circuit modification approaches to the general practitioner. Examples are digital tools like apps for bias modification, home-based biofeedback or wearables for brain stimulation, and continuous neuronal and behavioural assessments like our wearable EEG setup.

Health Literacy, Adherence & Nursing

Established networks allow intensive collaborations regarding health literacy and disorder as well as research education (e.g. consumers trained as Ex-Ins with an active role in the C-I-R-C/ patient representatives /Citizen Science coordinators/ Alliance Against Depression). Research on patient involvement and participation as well as adherence in psychiatry (M. Schulz) complemented by research on psychiatric nursing (G. Meyer) targets the intersection of consumer and carer involvement and nursing in a developmentally oriented translational research context. Our research on the resulting impact on health-literacy in children and their parents closes the loop between consumer participation and scientific discoveries in a family-centered approach (HELICAP, C. Apfelbacher).


There are numerous structures and platforms in place to advance prevention that the C-I-R-C can build on, for example:

Mental Health Week

  • Organized for over 10 years
  • Organization & coordination by an interdisciplinary team and participation of many institutions & services
  • Addressed to the public as well as to affected individuals and employees from the care sector

Suicide prevention

  • Organized by the Network for Suicide Prevention (NeST) in Thuringia
  • Workshops and training programs, for example for members of the psychoscocial working group (PSAG)

Awareness days

  • Healthcare day & remembrance day for victims of drug addiction
  • COA activity week for children from addicted families in cooperation of addiction support and city administration (health and youth welfare office)
  • Youth film days & youth theatre days (large community projects on addiction prevention for school classes)