Schizophrenia is a severe and disabling illness that affects the way the mind works. It will affect about 1 in 100 of the population at some time in their life and starts mainly in late teens and early twenties at the very time that most people are starting out on their adult life and beginning to realise their plans and ambitions. Today in the UK over a quarter of a million people are being treated for schizophrenia by the NHS.
However schizophrenia is not an illness like heart disease or cancer. It is so poorly understood by the general public and surrounded by so many myths and so much stigma that most people who live with the illness cannot discuss it openly even today.
Since the move to care in the community for people with serious mental health problems over 20 years ago our expertise in treating this condition has undoubtedly improved. We now have better medications and better access to talking therapies like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Alongside the improvements in treatments have come marked improvements in clinical outcomes. Indeed clinical outcomes are now better than ever and most people who experience an episode of this illness will return to a very high level of functioning.
However, although clinical outcomes may have improved, social outcomes in the UK are still very poor and are not getting better. At the moment very few people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia will manage to get into work or own their own home. Recovery: true recovery therefore remains an aspiration that we are yet to achieve. Yet we know from the experience of other countries that this needn’t be so.
This website will publish the views and experiences of people who have known schizophrenia from the inside and who do not believe that a diagnosis of schizophrenia need always be a life sentence. We believe that the aim should be not simply to survive but to thrive.
Our work focuses on and promotes recovery strategies and beneficial lifestyle choices and aims to help sufferers re-join mainstream life in the wider community. We believe that a better life through recovery and rehabilitation is possible for many people who are currently living with schizophrenia.