It's time to rethink schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people, and it is much more than just 'split personality' and 'hearing voices', which are common misconceptions. In fact, Rethink Mental Illness' research shows 50% of people still believe it simply means having a split personality.

Schizophrenia affects the way people think, the way they behave and their perceptions of the world. People might have hallucinations, disorganised thinking and delusions, or become withdrawn and have problems remembering and concentrating. As with all mental health conditions, everyone experiences it differently.

Working closely with people affected by schizophrenia, Rethink Mental Illness have created the video below, which is designed to illustrate what it can be like to hear voices. They encourage us all to watch, share and talk about this video to our colleagues, friends and family - especially those less likely to know about this condition.

This video gives us a window into what life can be like for people with schizophrenia. Although it is quite shocking, the insight it provides and Rethink's wider campaign will hopefully increase awareness of the condition.

Chloe Martin, Marketing Assistant

Symptoms can manifest themselves in different ways; for some people they are always there, for others they come and go, or only ever occur once or twice in a lifetime. Some symptoms can make it more difficult to manage with daily life, but many people have found that it is possible to do so. Medication, psychological treatments (like talking therapies) and self-care techniques are available and can help.

Schizophrenia impacts the friends and family of those living with it too, and these people often need the help and support of charities like Rethink Mental Illness to explore ways to deal with the situation. A variety of information and advice is available on their website, and they also run support groups. It can be reassuring to find out that there are other people with a friend or loved one with schizophrenia, and these and similar support groups provide a safe space to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

As with many mental health conditions, schizophrenia can also impact your work and professional life, which is why increasing the awareness amongst employers is also crucial. With better knowledge of the common symptoms, employers can be better informed about how to support those affected.

The 'Rethink Schizophrenia' campaign has already been featured on the BBC website, and promotion via several social media platforms, we hope that the important messages it conveys will reach a wide audience.

Although public attitudes to mental illness are changing, schizophrenia is still deeply misunderstood and one of the most highly stigmatised mental health conditions. It is important that we all take the time to increase our understanding and work together to challenge perceptions and change attitudes.

We all need to rethink schizophrenia.

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