One in four people continue to associate schizophrenia with violence, new research from Rethink Mental Illness reveals.
The charity say the public remain “dangerously misinformed” about schizophrenia following a survey of 1,500 people.
The charity's new campaign – ‘Rethink Schizophrenia’ is designed to help everyone to separate the myths from the facts.
The new survey from the charity of 1,500 members of the public found:
- 50% of people mistakenly think that schizophrenia means you have a ‘split’ personality
- 26% believe that schizophrenia definitely makes you violent
- 23% incorrectly think that someone with schizophrenia needs to be monitored by professionals at all times
One in 100 people, or around 650,000 adults, have schizophrenia, but almost half of the general public (45%) thought the illness is much less common than this.
Having schizophrenia can affect the way individuals think and behave. Problems concentrating or remembering, or experience delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices, are common.
The new research found that many people are unaware of the inequalities and prejudice that someone living with schizophrenia can face.
61% didn’t know that someone with schizophrenia will live on average,15-20 years less than the rest of the population.
This inequality is largely down to the fact that physical health problems are often missed or put down to mental illness or because of complications from the side effects of medication.
Whilst 60% of people think that someone with schizophrenia can do a full time job, the stark reality is that only 8% who are ready and want to work are currently employed.
It’s hard for anyone to imagine what living with schizophrenia can be like, so Rethink Mental Illness has created a short video to help people understand what hearing voices is really like. You can watch the video here: www.rethink.org/rethinkschizophrenia
“It’s about time we all got to grips with what schizophrenia is and what it isn’t," said Brian Dow, director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness. "Schizophrenia can be treated and managed, just like many other illnesses. It’s not a dirty word or, worse, a term of abuse."
President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Wendy Burn said: “It is astounding that despite all the talk of conditions such as depression and anxiety, severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are still so widely misunderstood.
“To tackle the stigma that so many living with schizophrenia face, we have a huge task ahead of us in informing and educating the public. We also need to ensure that more medical students choose psychiatry so that those living with schizophrenia have specialist doctors available to treat them."
Voicing Psychotic Experiences, a training resource produced by Pavilion Publishing, the company which owns Mental Health Today, is available to buy at a discounted price for a limited time.