We want to inspire
We are a group of doctoral students and part of the IMPRS-TP based in Munich and believe in the importance of communicating science to the general public and especially to children and adolescents, culturing, that way, scientific thinking from early on. Our goal is to educate the general public, starting from a young age, about mental health and mental illnesses. Thereby, we hope to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Deutsches Museum Science Summer
We showed and explained at the Deutsches Museum in Munich on August 22 how the brain works and what happens when psychiatric disorders occur.
Our original group gained inspiration by the close interaction between both basic scientists and medical doctors trained by the interdisciplinary IMPRS-TP and a translational course IMPRS-TP offers on the clinical manifestation of psychiatric disorders. During this course and from discussions between the basic scientists and medical doctors of the group it became clear to us that there is high prevalence of psychosis in adolescents who have consumed cannabis. This was enough for us to research on the subject and choose this as the first worthwhile topic to communicate to the general public, especially to adolescents who are at a critical period for the onset of cannabis-related psychotic symptoms. So, we came up with the idea of writing an article for Frontiers for Young Minds, a peer-reviewed journal in which the reviewers and the target audience are children and adolescents. Our main focus of the article was to connect epidemiological data that correlate cannabis use and psychotic symptoms with the basic biological mechanisms that are dysregulated in the adolescent brain after cannabis consumption. In that way, we hoped to achieve two things: first, provide in a language accessible to children a reference for the risk of using cannabis in relation to psychiatric problems and second, show that psychiatric phenotypes and disorders are connected with dysregulated underlying biological mechanisms in the brain. Especially with the latter, we additionally aim to battle, early in the life of the children, the still existing beliefs that psychiatric disorders are different from other physical diseases. So, our efforts added up in an article published in Frontiers for Young Minds in May 2020 entitled: “Be careful what you feed your brain: cannabis and mental health”.
Visit of 10th graders in July 2019
We are organizing one-day events for school classes to visit the Institute and learn about research in general and psychiatric disorders specifically. We welcomed our first group of students in July 2019 and are excited to welcome more when the circumstances allow it!