World Schizophrenia Day is observed on May 24 annually. Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness affecting more than 21 million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness about this illness, eradicate the myths and superstitions around mental illnesses in general.
On May 13 through 19 of 2020, organizations around the world will participate in Schizophrenia Awareness Week, seven days of activities and events designed to raise awareness about a commonly misunderstood disease. The awareness week for schizophrenia, a serious psychiatric disease, coincides with the lead up to World Schizophrenia Awareness Day on May 24.
Myths and Facts about Schizophrenia:
Myth: People with schizophrenia need to be cared for in a hospital.
Fact: Not all people with schizophrenia need to be hospitalized. The family can care for the person at home, by understanding the disorder and learning what kind of support the person needs, while diligently following the advice of the mental health professionals.
Myth: People with schizophrenia have split /several personalities.
Fact: The term ‘multiple personality disorder’ refers to a condition in which people have different, well-defined temporary identities. A person with multiple personality disorder may behave like different people at different points of time.
Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain in which the person has lost touch with reality, and has symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and bizarre beliefs. A person with schizophrenia has only one personality. The ‘split’ refers to the fact that their thinking, feeling, and behaving may not be consistent/congruent with one another (e.g., laughing while recollecting a sad.
Myth: Schizophrenia is caused by bad parenting, or abuse during childhood.
Fact: Schizophrenia is not caused by bad parenting or abuse. The occurrence of schizophrenia is linked to the structure of the brain, and other risk factors: genetic, physical, emotional, and social. Adolescence is a period where some structural changes take place in the brain. One of the theories is that due to some faulty disruption that happens in the brain during adolescence, the teenager may be more vulnerable to developing the illness if other risk factors are also present.