As we wrote in a previous post, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As part of that effort to raise awareness about the true meaning and impact of mental illness, May 18 – 24, 2014 has been designated Schizophrenia Awareness Week.
Why? One out of 100 Americans suffers with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is one of the most recognized illnesses, but it is commonly misunderstood. And with so many myths about mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia, the focus of Schizophrenia Awareness Week is to try and get the facts out to the public.
The message for the week is two-fold: that recovery is possible and real for people with mental illnesses, and that communities must work together to eliminate the stigma and discrimination usually associated with these disorders.
A few facts about schizophrenia:
- Schizophrenia affects men and women equally. It occurs at similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world.
- Schizophrenia symptoms include hearing internal voices, thinking that other people are reading one’s mind, controlling one’s thoughts, or plotting harm, which may leave the sufferer feeling fearful and withdrawn.
- A sufferer’s disorganized behavior can be perceived as incomprehensible or frightening.
- People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. Or, they may seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they’re really thinking.
The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) is the organization that put Schizophrenia Awareness Week on the map. They work year-round with other mental health advocacy groups, religious organizations, schools, and civic organizations in the hopes of helping Americans to change their views toward mental illnesses, and learn respect for those who live with these medical disorders.
Schizophrenia is a complex condition that affects everyone differently. Just like many physical diseases, there are a variety of symptoms and varying methods of treatment. SARDAA’s goal is to provide as much information as possible to promote opportunities for recovery from schizophrenia.
Those who suffer with schizophrenia and their families and friends can find a range of useful information and support on the SARDAA website, including contact information for their signature program, Schizophrenics Anonymous, access to information on public legislation regarding mental health laws and links to sources on various topics including:
- Government Agencies
- Information and Research
- Legal Issues
- National Organizations
- Professional Organizations
- Mental Health Policy
At Horizon Health Services, we offer a wide range of mental health services in Buffalo, including assessment, counseling, psychiatric medication prescription and monitoring. If you have any problems, questions or concerns about your own mental well-being or that of a loved one, do not hesitate to call us anytime at 716.831.1800.
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