In 2010 – the European Year of Poverty Fighting and Social Exclusion – we participated in the international travelling exhibition, Parallel Experience. The project came out of the awareness that society is largely
uninformed on the topic of mental illness. Mental illness often succumbs to myths and beliefs, which create barriers on the way to adequate professional care. Because of this, the affected are often ashamed and feel stigmatized. Some lose their family, friends, or jobs. It often follows that their standard of living declines, they live in loneliness, sometimes only with the support of social and sick benefits, or they are placed in psychiatric hospitals or specialized homes.
The aim of the project Parallel Experience was to initiate a dialogue between the community of people who live with mental illness, professionals, and the public. Parallel experience was gradually introduced from September 2010 to March 2011 in Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, and Dresden.