Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2021
This week is Schizophrenia Awareness Week and this year’s theme is “Discover Better Mental Health.”
Everyone is encouraged to connect, reach out and get support to discover better mental health.
Schizophrenia is a life-long mental illness where you can experience distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self and behaviour.
About 1 in 100 Australians live with schizophrenia every day.
Schizophrenia Awareness Week aims to bring awareness to the illness, to eliminate the stigma surrounding it and to educate people about the illness.
Common symptoms include:
- hallucination: hearing, seeing or feeling things that are not there
- delusion: fixed false beliefs or suspicions not shared by others in the person’s culture and that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary
- abnormal behaviour: disorganised behaviour such as wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self.
- disorganised speech: incoherent or irrelevant speech
- disturbances of emotions: marked apathy or disconnect between reported emotion and what is observed such as facial expression or body language.
You can support someone with schizophrenia by:
- Focusing on the person’s strengths – remind them of the things they enjoy or are good at and the role they have as a member of their family and community.
- Consider joining a support group, doing a family psychoeducation program or seeing a psychologist to learn about the illness, how to communicate better and manage problems.
- Learn to recognise the early warning signs of a psychosis episode and have a plan for what to do.
- Learn motivational techniques to encourage the person to do things for themselves.
- Keep track of their health care visits and help make sure they don’t miss them.
- Support them after a hospital visit. When someone with schizophrenia has been in hospital, the first week back at home can be very hard emotionally.
Community mental health services are available throughout the State to support people with schizophrenia, along with Hearing Voices Network groups, the Mental Illness Fellowship of WA, Consumers of Mental Health WA and more.
To find a local mental health service go to www.myservices.org.au
You can also join an online forum for support at www.sane.org
For more information about Schizophrenia Awareness Week visit: https://www.mifwa.org.au/blog/schizophrenia-awareness-week/