1 minute on Maestro
Paata Skhirtladze, Tbilisi
In Georgia, there is a TV project "1 minute on Maestro-TV" where people have a chance to speak about themselves or problems and achievements in the field they act/work or just live. A week ago, an ex-user of mental health service gave an interview about his mental health difficulty. It was kind of coming-out and a good example for combating stigma. He mentioned that he had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, but as he takes medications regularly and has possibility to work, he feels good. It is not "new" for European countries, but in Georgian society you rarely find users who speaks publicly about his/her mental health difficulties. This is what Paata's said on TV:"When people named someone 'crazy' and say “he is not able to do anything”, it sends that person to isolation and exclusion. But a person with mental health difficulties can overcome the condition and recover. Few years ago I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but through learning, art, sports and therapies, I overcome the condition and now I have a job. Dosage of medication became lesser and lesser. In other words, I feel good. I'd like to call on the others [with mental health difficulties]: do not stop action, fight to combat the difficulties and you will win!" Good luck!