How do people create open problems
Society's hidden problems
Matthias from Bremen did it! After hearing the heavy glass door to his place of work slam behind him, he knows that he is safe for the time being. He tormented himself through the city by bus and tram for half an hour - unsure whether a panic attack could shake him at any time. Matthias is one of the estimated 500,000 to one million people between the ages of 18 and 65 in Germany who are impaired by their mental illness.
Matthias was lucky because, unlike other people with this disability, he found a job in a café in his hometown: a Bremen company that makes additional income possible, primarily enabling people with mental disabilities to work. For many others it is difficult - with or without a diagnosis - to get into a regular everyday life, let alone get a job. Because there are by far not enough job offers that are suitable for people with mental illness and at the same time socially inclusive.
To a considerable extent, this is also related to the prejudices we have about people with mental illness in our society. It is rarely reported in the media or discussed at dinner. People who don't conform to the norm are stigmatized. This is also one of the reasons why the number of people affected is so uncertain - many people prefer to hide in public that they are mentally ill. What is certain, however, is that the number of people with mental illness in Germany is steadily increasing.
The labor market for people with mental health problems is not the only topic that receives little attention, however serious for society as a whole is. There are many such problems, both socially and ecologically, that can have a lasting impact on the future of our society and rarely make it into public dialogue: child poverty in Germany, the environmental impact of ocean freight, the consequences of the automation of stock market speculation, the rising Gini coefficient for fortune, etc.
Whether a social challenge receives media attention or not has a major influence on its potential for a solution. Because public attention decides where the available resources go. Public coffers, foundations and private donors often align their funding and investments with these trends. This means that most social enterprises and NGOs are founded in these areas because they can get funding or investments there.
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