Kiel, August 1st, 2018. The Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, presented today in the presence of the Minister of Health Dr. Heiner Garg and district president Dr. Juliane Rumpf and numerous guests of honor presented the Cross of Merit, 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany, awarded to her by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Ms. Bettina Frank at a ceremony in the State Chancellery In the laudatory speech, Prime Minister Günther praised Ms. Frank's outstanding social and community achievements.

Bettina Frank has been organizing and moderating the nationwide headache forum Headbook at the Kiel Pain Clinic since the late 1990s, which has developed into the largest self-help group on this topic in Europe. She is particularly committed to improving the diagnosis and treatment of migraine and headache disorders. Many years ago she recognized the possibilities of self-help through digital media, developed them further and used them for targeted information and education. She did pioneering work in developing the new form of self-help in Germany and is now also active internationally. The social networks she has built are visited by more than 30,000 people every day. Despite suffering from migraines, Bettina Frank works around the clock and has also initiated self-help groups with Headbook and the migraine community on Facebook, through which almost 13,000 people exchange ideas every day.

It is their central concern to bring those affected, doctors, therapists and national and international pain centers together at the same table. It is about sustainably improving health care and making new knowledge, treatment concepts and research results in the field of migraine and headache disorders immediately available. She has made it her life's mission to provide active support through self-help, to provide assistance and to enable effective treatment and follow-up care. Bettina Frank thus largely reduces suffering, jokes and, in particular, the social isolation of many of those affected.

She is a self-affected person who has suffered from complex chronic migraines since her childhood, which still determines her life today. Based on her own experiences, Bettina Frank recognized early on difficulties and deficits in the care of neurological pain disorders, particularly migraine and headache disorders. With her outstanding commitment, she sets an impressive example of how it is possible to sustainably help other sufferers despite severe disabilities and limitations caused by one's own illness. Bettina Frank has a high public presence and is on duty day and night. She is always available for those seeking help, whether on vacation, at weekends or at night. It provides comfort, provides helpful information via app, email, telephone or in person and acts like a “lighthouse in dark times” for those affected.

With the social network “Headbook” she has been doing tireless educational work since 2009, informing those affected and strengthening their self-competence. Based on her knowledge and wealth of experience, Bettina Frank provides assistance with targeted treatment options and permanent emotional support. She not only maintains contact with leading national and international pain centers, but also develops intensive energies in the areas of follow-up care and exchange of everyday problems and concerns of those affected. She also answers questions, arranges contacts and moderates the networking between those affected.

With her commitment, she sets an outstanding example of how digital media can be used on your own initiative, regardless of location, to improve health care. Patients no longer feel at the mercy of the migraine app, but can take responsibility for their own actions using the migraine app. In this way, they provide additional important information for treating doctors, who can build on this and respond specifically to the patient's problems.

Bettina Frank's commitment has a cross-national impact. She has made contacts in Austria and Switzerland and has now developed a global network for self-help activities that was unthinkable a decade ago. To this day, she organizes nationwide meetings for patients, lectures with scientific contributions and symposia and takes care of national and international speakers. She works tirelessly as a volunteer editor for advice literature, information brochures and internet portals in order to sustainably advance self-help work.

The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Cross of Merit) is awarded to domestic and foreign women and men for political, economic, social and intellectual achievements as well as for all special services to the Federal Republic of Germany, e.g. B. also merits from the social, charitable and human sectors. These are achievements that have usually been made with considerable effort over a longer period of time, putting one's own interests aside.

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