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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.
What Is National Schizophrenia Day?
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.
How to Spread Schizophrenia 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.
- Educate yourself: To start conversations about schizophrenia and offer accurate information about the condition to others, you must first educate yourself on the subject. There are plenty of books and online resources available that can help you better understand the condition and help you start conversations with others. This is the best way of spreading awareness and chipping away at the wall of social misconceptions about schizophrenia.
- Ask your loved ones how they’re doing: Helping others starts with your inner circle. Speak to your family, partner, and colleagues and ask them how they’re doing. Listen to their answers and offer your support. If they give any indication that they’re highly stressed or depressed, let them know that there are resources available. For instance, our Banyan Mental Health center offers depression treatment among a variety of other resources that can help.
- Open up about your experience: Many people feel better and less alone when they can relate to others. For this reason, if you’ve ever struggled with mental health, sharing your experience with others can help spread awareness and encourage them to speak up about their struggles and get help.
- Encourage kind language: While you can’t control everything that people say or do, try to kindly ask others to consider the impact of their words. Any language that enforces the stigma of mental illness is harmful and can make someone diagnosed with a disorder like schizophrenia feel bad and discourage them from getting help.
- Volunteer: Volunteering your time at community centers, mental health organizations, or events can not only offer realistic and in-person education about what these disorders “look like,” but it also allows you to encourage and be there for others.
- Leverage social media: Social media applications like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok are great platforms in which you can spread schizophrenia awareness.
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.
The Different Types of Schizophrenia
How Schizophrenia Was Portrayed in A Beautiful Mind