Schizophrenia affects around 26 million people across the world and is the focus of World Mental Health Day this year.

Despite being a treatable disorder, more than 50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment, and 90% of people with untreated schizophrenia live in the developing world.

On 10 October we celebrate the most important day in the mental health calendar and shine the spotlight on “living” with schizophrenia. From those who face every day of their lives with it, to their families, friends, doctors and even society as a whole, we all have a part to play in raising awareness of schizophrenic illness.

We want to ensure that people with schizophrenia get the best possible care and support to manage their illness and to help them recover.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts but it’s actually a word that describes a number of symptoms that psychiatry has labelled a disorder. Not everyone with schizophrenia has the same symptoms and the definition of the disorder is wide, including a number of combinations of different things.
World Mental Health Day Living with Schizoophrenia
Schizophrenia may make it hard for people to judge reality and key features of early psychosis include:

•Sleep disturbance
•Appetite disturbance
•Marked unusual behavior
•Feelings that are flat or seem inconsistent to others
•Speech that is difficult to follow
•Marked preoccupation with unusual ideas
•Ideas of reference – thinking unrelated things have a special meaning, ie people on television talking to you
•Persistent feelings of unreality
•Changes in the way things appear, sound or smell.

Schizophrenia can occur in anyone but it’s a treatable disorder. Long term medication may be necessary for some people but talking therapies and self-help groups can also be effective.

How can you make the most of World Mental Health Day?

•Read the World Federation for Mental Health’s Living with Schizophrenia report or find our more about our own policy on schizophrenia and what we want to change
•Learn more about schizophrenia and find out about delusions, paranoia, hearing voices, psychosis and hallucinations
•Raise awareness of schizophrenia and support mental health by holding a Tea & Talk, our very World Mental Health Day fundraising activity
•Read some stories about life with schizophrenia from Barry, Natalie, Albert and David.