Raising awareness about schizophrenia

Posted on 13th November, 2013

Devon Partnership NHS Trust and GPs in Devon have backed a national charity’s campaign to raise awareness of schizophrenia by challenging popular myths about the illness. Schizophrenia Awareness Week takes place from 11-17 November and is run by national charity Rethink Mental Illness. Last year a national independent commission on schizophrenia and psychosis found that a change in attitude towards schizophrenia was needed both in the NHS and wider society. Dr David Somerfield, Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said:  “we hope the awareness week will get people talking more about schizophrenia and mental health in general. In all of our work, we are trying to reduce the stigma and the myths that are, regrettably, still too often associated with mental illness.  Our aim is for people to be as comfortable talking about schizophrenia and depression as they are talking about cancer and coronary heart disease. “Schizophrenia is a long term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, muddled thoughts and changes in behaviour.  It is very important to make the diagnosis as early as possible and we want to encourage people to start talking about schizophrenia and learning about the symptoms. “There are many misconceptions about schizophrenia. For example it is not, as characterised, commonly associated with violent crime. In fact, those suffering from schizophrenia in the community are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for one.”