Dear friends, colleagues, and community,
Multiple international health organizations honor May 24th as World Schizophrenia Day. It is a time to celebrate the resilience of the people who carry a diagnosis of schizophrenia and to reflect on everything that mental health professionals, researchers, and peer activists have accomplished to advance psychosis-related care. Of course, it is also a day to acknowledge how much work remains to lift the stigma surrounding this condition and to create a more just end equitable world for people diagnosed with serious mental illness.
Schizophrenia is a common condition affecting approximately 1% of the world’s population, characterized by a group of symptoms collectively called psychosis, which can include strange or illogical thoughts and/or unusual perceptions like hearing voices. Schizophrenia most commonly emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood, and it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with schizophrenia to experience a range of other symptoms, such as difficulties concentrating, trouble staying organized, or decreased motivation and enthusiasm. While these symptoms can present challenges, schizophrenia is a highly treatable condition. Psychosis can be understood and modified through a wide range of specialized, evidence-based treatments, and persons diagnosed with schizophrenia can live full, meaningful lives pursuing what matters to them.
If you would like to learn more about psychosis and schizophrenia, we have compiled a number of resources elsewhere on our website:
- You can learn more about psychosis here
- This page provides an overview of our lab’s psychosis-related projects
- If a family member or other loved one of yours has experienced psychosis and you would like more resources and training tailored to helping you better understand their experience, you can learn more about our family support programs here
- More information on cognitive behavioral therapy, a kind of talk therapy shown to be effective in treating psychosis, is available here. This page also includes links to prominent people living with schizophrenia describing it in their own words
The Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Adviser, an initiative started by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), has curated a range of resources in honor of World Schizophrenia Day. You can access their page here.
If you have any questions about the above material or anything you want to share about your experiences with schizophrenia, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether you’re a mental health professional, someone whose life has been directly affected by psychosis, or an ally to the cause of advancing care for persons with serious mental illness, we welcome your perspective. Together, we can work to ensure that there is more to celebrate on all the World Schizophrenia Days to come.
The University of Washington SPIRIT Lab