To state, schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person's decision making, emotional management, and thinking. This could lead to hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty organizing thoughts or remembering. For treatment, one can use antipsychotic medication, which can help to lessen the frequency and the intensity of psychotic symptoms, use psychosocial treatment, and other therapies. However, stigma and a lack of awareness about the illness can hurt those with the disease and make it worse in other cases.
Stigma for those suffering from schizophrenia are many and are not just limited to those outside the medical community. Common stigma for those with schizophrenia is the idea that they are naturally violent and chaotic, excluding them socially, or labelling them with harmful words. Those who suffer from the illness can also stigmatize themselves in what is called internalized stigma, where one believes they are flawed and believe in the negative stereotypes about them. Stigma can even happen in the medical workplace, as some may hold low expectations for improvement and hold negative attitudes to the patients, they treat that have schizophrenia. This harmful ideology can trigger relapses and can cause those with the illness to take a worse route than they were at before. However, to stop the stigma against schizophrenia, we must raise awareness for the mental illness.
The community can step up to stigma against schizophrenia through the use of pamphlets or other informative materials on the street, pushing mental health education in schools, and improving training for mental health professionals to pave a better attitude and empathy for those with schizophrenia and more. Posters, billboards, and websites for kids and adults can help raise awareness about the illness and allow many to comprehend the disease without stereotypes. Teaching kids about mental illnesses like schizophrenia in schools can help make more students more inclusive towards those with the disease as well as spreading the word to more people. Lastly, improving training for mental health professionals would help to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the professional and patient, leading to better prognosis and positive results. If we want to reduce stigma for schizophrenia, we must first make our community aware of the disease.
Hoftman, Gil Dov, et al. “The Burden of Mental Illness Beyond Clinical Symptoms: Impact of Stigma on the Onset and Course of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders.” American Journal of Psychiatry Residents' Journal, 4 May 2017, https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.2016.110404#:~:text=Stigma%20is%20a%20form%20of,a%20more%20severe%20illness%20course.
“Schizophrenia.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml.
“Schizophrenia.” NAMI, www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizophrenia.
“Schizophrenia.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/schizophrenia