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How is Schizophrenia Portrayed in Media

Posted Jul 27 2012 12:00am
Last week's Colorado theater shooting tragedy. When I first heard about this incident I assumed media and the public would identify schizophrenia; a brain disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and other symptoms loosely categorized as either negative symptoms, positive symptoms or cognitive symptoms. Schizophrenia, schizophrenia- the media is doctor and authority over correct diagnosis of individuals and their actions, overnight- I am NOT surprised! Immediately, I understood the consequences- STIGMA- shame, fear, and suffering in silence, for individuals living with this medical condition and for their families and loved ones. Initially, I did not want to address the issue because I know how it will manifest in media and ultimately in the eyes of the United States society and beyond. Remember the Arizona shooting- "schizophrenia" was immediately suspected... To me, schizophrenia- the scapegoat for horrific crimes and everything negative, in media! Sigh... So disheartening.

Well, media needs to also publicize individuals living with the medical condition in a REAL life manner- holding jobs of diverse capacities- and higher educational degrees, and wonderful talents; John Nash, Elyn Saks, Nathaniel Ayers, etc., being family-oriented, respecting laws, supporting self and peers, volunteering, managing recovery, and living NORMAL lives... Let me share with you a positive story- the one not mentioned in the headlines- about three individuals coping with schizophrenia; visit to watch the short documentary, LIVING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA: A CALL FOR HOPE AND RECOVERY... I apologize to my peers and their families for what they are enduring as a result the Colorado theater shooting; the blame game, fear, embarrassment, and SILENCE. But there is HOPE. When we open dialogue about mental illness and educate ourselves, we are breaking the cycle of stigma- please, please educate yourself and know the truth about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, NOT the fast-selling gossip and myths!

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind , NAMI , Choices in Recovery , Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).
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