World Schizophrenia Day 2022 is on May 24th, and Banyan Mental Health is encouraging all to participate. Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. The condition is marked by psychosis, which is characterized by a loss of reality caused by a disruption in the way the brain processes information. People with schizophrenia interpret reality differently, leading to symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, confusion, disordered speech, disorder thinking, bizarre behavior, and more. Schizophrenia Awareness Day is practiced on a global scale to break down the stigma and prejudice that weigh down individuals with this disorder.
World Schizophrenia Day was created by the National Schizophrenia Foundation in honor of Dr. Philippe Pinel, a major figure in the early efforts to provide human care and treatment for mental illness. World Schizophrenia Day shines a light on the challenges faced by the one in 100 people with the disorder. It paves the way for all to educate themselves on schizophrenia and to break down the stigma and discrimination surrounding this very misunderstood illness.
While attitudes towards mental illness have changed in recent years, with more and more people (including celebrities) opening up about their struggles with disorders like depression or anxiety, there’s still a lot of confusion and lack of education concerning schizophrenia. Largely due to its portrayal in the media, people with schizophrenia are often believed to be “crazy” or “psychotic.” They’re either portrayed as artistic geniuses or violent and aggressive individuals rather than people who are simply struggling to manage symptoms of a condition that distorts their sense of reality.
Additionally, many people believe schizophrenia is the same as split personality disorder because the term means schizo (to split) and phren (the mind). However, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler first used the term ‘schizophrenia’ in 1911 to emphasize the mental confusion and fragmented state that many people with the condition experience. Not only can social stigmas about schizophrenia be harmful to those who are diagnosed with the condition, but it’s also a matter of safety for many.
A study showed that people with schizophrenia are up to 14 times more likely to be the victims of violent crime compared to those being arrested as a perpetrator.1 To further illustrate the lack of awareness and support for those with schizophrenia, the same study also found that 31 studies on violence and severe mental illness since 1990 focused on the perpetration of violence compared to the 10 that focused on people with severe mental illness as the victims of violence.1
This means that people with severe mental health disorders like schizophrenia were more often viewed as the danger rather than the victims. This mindset has carried one through generations, which is why days like World Schizophrenia Day are important for spreading awareness.
In the same way, we educate ourselves and communities about physical health concerns like heart disease, it is equally important to start conversations about mental illness, how to recognize it, and the available treatment options.
World Schizophrenia Day 2022 is the best time to start conversations about mental illness in your community. And if you’re wondering whether one person can make a difference, the answer is absolutely! All of your efforts in spreading mental health awareness have a ripple effect on others.
If you or someone you know needs help with mental illness, our treatment center for mental health in Boca offers schizophrenia treatment, among numerous other treatment programs and methods. We’re here to help clients and their loved ones live fulfilling and happy lives.