The stigma attached with the word Schizophrenia, is to say the least severe. Thanks to much misinformation in the media and public at large it evokes connotations of mass murder and demonic possession. In the latest Batman movie “the Dark Knight” all of the Jokers associates are Schizophrenics, as according to the movie- they are the types he hangs out with.
Not only does it have a bad public image, but along with diagnosis people are often told it has no known cause, no known cure and is a lifetime illness which they will have to be medicated for the rest of their lives, and suffer frequent hospitalisation and enforced treatments.
This as you can well imagine does little to aid the recovery process. A person becomes fearful of the voices, and paranoid of other people finding out. It discourages people from looking for ways of managing and helping themselves, from seeking help at an early stage of their experiences, and does nothing to help them to understand their experiences and to move forward.
At the Hearing Voices Network, we encourage people to see their experiences of hearing voices as a journey not a dead end destination.To look for the meaning in their voices as a better way of understanding their self.
We beleive that the abolition of the Schizophrenic label will encourage others to treat people that hear voices as an individual, who has arrived at their current location as a result of their life experiences. To enable them to be treated with equal dignity by all.
Dr Steven Onken said at the TheMHS conference in Auckland this year.
“If you want to see change, then change what you see.”
Removal of the Schizophrenic label is paramount to this happening. So we can support those with these type of experiences on their healing journey. Empowering voice hearers to take control of their voices and their lives.
A label that gives them an incurable disease with terrible stigma does not do this.