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HEALTH > Schizophrenia patients need help to survive their business

A café in capital Ankara that employs people suffering from schizophrenia to facilitate their integration with society and reduce prejudice against them will soon be forced to close because of financial problems

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About 30 schzophrenia patients have been working for three years for the café, which is the first of its kind in Turkey. The café has initiated an SMS-message donation campaign, which will continue until Sept. 5. Hürriyet photo

About 30 schzophrenia patients have been working for three years for the café, which is the first of its kind in Turkey. The café has initiated an SMS-message donation campaign, which will continue until Sept. 5. Hürriyet photo

The Mavi At (Blue Horse) Café, which opened three years ago on Mareşal Fevzi Çakmak Avenue in Ankara to provide a venue for schizophrenia patients to get involved in social and business life, may be forced to close down due to inancial difficulties. The Schizophrenia Associations Federation has initiated an SMS campaign to help the café survive.

Nearly 51 million people suffer from schizophrenia worldwide, 700,000 of whom are in Turkey, the head of the federation, Professor Haldun Soygür, who is also the person behind the campaign, said. The exclusion and social isolation faced by these people, who can be treated with appropriate medication, negatively affects their treatment. There is a general prejudice that “schizophrenics can’t work,” he said.

“These patients cannot even take advantage of disability hiring quotas. Most of our young patients are unfortunately excluded from society,” Soygür said. The Mavi At Café, which opened in June 2009 with the mission of reducing prejudices against schizophrenia patients, has provided a therapeutic environment for patients over the past three years, he said.

HDN “About 30 patients have been regularly working for the café for three years. Schizophrenia is a disease that relapses from time to time, but relapses are rarely observed in the patients who working at the café. And their problems were generally solved within a short period of time. This place provides a therapeutic environment for patients, and the café also helps reduce social prejudices against these patients, thanks to their contact with customers,” Soygür said.

Salary cannot be paid

The Mavi At Café, the first of its kind for schizophrenia patients in Turkey, now faces closure because of financial problems.

“We took on this serious challenge, but we cannot even pay the 3,000 Turkish Liras for the monthly rent of the café. Considering our other expenses, we cannot continue with this income and expense balance. We were paying our employees a salary at first, but we cannot pay it anymore. Still they are making a sacrifice to try to help this place survive.”

The café has initiated an SMS-message donation campaign, which will continue until Sept. 5. To make a donation of 5 liras to the café, send a message to 6618.

August/17/2012

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