To mark Schizophrenia Awareness Week, the charity Rethink Mental Illness has created a powerful video in which four people who have lived with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or psychosis share their experiences.
One is Andrew, who has had paranoid schizophrenia since his 20s. He spent "years in asylums" and revealed how "fearful and afraid" he felt about his future. After he got the right help Andrew got a degree from the Open University and now works as a mental health campaigner.
"Newspaper headlines do not represent me, I am not violent or scary or a nutter," he said, highlighting the insensitive media reporting that fuels the stigma surrounding his condition.
A survey carried out by the charity found that 89 percent of people with schizophrenia said not getting the right support has had a negative impact on their overall quality of life. Only 28 percent of them had received the recommended minimum of 16 hours of talking therapies and 24 percent had to wait for more than a year to get any at all.
The biggest issue is money: mental health services are severely underfunded, meaning far too many people have to wait too long to get the care they need.
This has to change because the message couldn't be clearer: with the right support people with even the most serious of mental illnesses can live a better life.
Schizophrenia Awareness Week runs from Oct. 5 to 10; for more information visit Rethink Mental Illness.
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