October 2, 2022

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Thousands cover windows with a special message

Thousands cover windows with a special message

In an apartment in Oslo, Marius Pettersson (27) has given his door a very special curtain.

The 27-year-old is one of around 2,000 Oslo citizens who this week will cover their windows with messages and highlight the dangers of isolating themselves at home – behind closed curtains.

In the report Mental health in Norway As of 2018, it is estimated that 16-22 percent of adults meet criteria for a mental health problem within a year.

Around 3,400 mentally ill people in the capital this summer are stuck at home without the chance to go out, according to the startups in Fontainebleau, which is behind the window campaign.

By the thousands: According to Fontenehues, thousands of mentally ill people in Oslo are isolated at home in their apartments. Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

– Known for jumping in front of trams

Peterson had such bad experiences in isolation that he became disabled and at age 18 was confined to a home due to mental illness.

Isolated: Marius Peterson had many dark periods in his life, behind the scenes of his apartment.  Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

Isolated: Marius Peterson had many dark periods in his life, behind the scenes of his apartment. Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

– It’s a little stronger to feel the feelings that were there then. Peterson says it’s hard not to understand what you’re supposed to do in life, whether to stop or move on.

He was told by health professionals that he was chronically suicidal.

– I tried to stop my life. I’ve been known to jump in front of a tram or overdose and end up in the emergency room.

One day in 2017, he decided to take action.

Symptoms may worsen

– I would say I was desperate. But I called Fontenehues and they said I could be there. It was the best thing I ever did, he says.

Fontenehues is a working community for people who are too sick to work but too healthy to sit at home. They want to prevent people from signing in sick for empty days.

Change wanted: Fontenihus' political demand is to ensure that people do not register sick for empty days.  Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

Change wanted: Fontenihus’ political demand is to ensure that people do not register sick for empty days. Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

– Symptoms can worsen, because the feeling of loneliness and isolation can make you feel less valuable and you can become even more withdrawn from normal everyday life, says Dorhilde Stimo, general manager of Fontenehues.

They believe there should be a distinction between sick leave and mental illness, and that GPs should provide other services to people who are sick due to mental illness.

– Stimo says that it was strange that you were sent home when you received the psychiatric report.

Difference in sick reports

In collaboration with Fontenehus, creator Sollin Sæle has illustrated the curtains, which include quotes from members of Fontenehus about their experiences of isolation at home.

On one curtain it says, for example: “I went home with a sick note.” I didn’t know it would be four years before I got out again.”

– If you call in sick, it feels really wrong to be seen by your boss or friends while you’re sitting in a cafe or park with friends, but Sæle says that some sick calls are just what you need.

Get out: Marius Peterson's clarion call Don't hide at home.  Here he hangs a curtain that illuminates it.  Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

Get out: Marius Peterson’s clarion call Don’t hide at home. Here he hangs a curtain that illuminates it. Photo: Simen Asker / TV2

Sæle gets support from Peterson, who advises others in the same situation:

– Saying yes, walking out the door, saying hello to someone – it gets you far and it means a lot.

He himself turned his life upside down after he started going out. Now he has a full-time job and a good relationship life.

– All the good things that I didn’t think about are there, they are. Sitting here alone, I don’t find it.

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