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Misunderstood: St Andrew’s launches new #LetsTalkAbout video on Schizophrenia

St Andrew’s is proud to share the third video in the charity's #LetsTalkAbout campaign which aims to shine a light on some of the most misunderstood mental health conditions.

The campaign is urging people to take their understanding of mental health beyond depression and anxiety and talk more frankly and openly about complex mental health problems.

The new short film, #LetsTalkAbout 'Schizophrenia', features St Andrew's consultant psychologist Dr Katina Anagnostakis. She explains what Schizophrenia is and why it is often misunderstood, and shares how you can best support people with the condition.

Dr Anagnostakis explained:

"Imagine having voices in your head telling you conflicting things. Imagine seeing, hearing or feeling things that no-one else can see, hear or feel. Imagine what that must be like... Imagine your thoughts feeling muddled, or like they're not real, or don't belong to you. Imagine how strange and frightening the world must seem."

Schizophrenia is one of the most stigmatised of mental health conditions. Unhelpful portrayals in popular culture suggest that people with Schizophrenia have 'a Jekyll and Hyde personality', or may be violent or psychopathic; these are negative, and damaging stereotypes. Dr Anagnostakis continued:

"A recent study looked at 40 popular movies from 1990 to 2010 and found that the vast majority depicted people with Schizophrenia in really quite negative ways. It's important we break down those stereotypes. Schizophrenia is a health condition that can be treated. You can live well with Schizophrenia. It is a disease like any other disease, like heart disease for instance, except it affects the mind rather than the body."

Symptoms of the condition include hallucinations - an experience where you may see, hear, feel or taste something that isn't there, which feels as real as any other experience you may have - and delusions, which are beliefs. They may also include muddled thoughts, and a sense that your thoughts are ebbing away. You may want to withdraw, or lose interest in looking after yourself or the things around you.

Dr Anagnostakis explained:

"You absolutely can live well with Schizophrenia. 4 out of 5 people with the condition will respond well to treatment and lead fulfilling lives, with opportunities to work and form relationships."

Dr Anagnostakis has some advice to help people support someone with Schizophrenia.

1) Educate yourselves and other people about the condition

2) Help people with Schizophrenia to recognise the early warning sights that they are becoming well, such as stress

3) People with Schizophrenia may do things that may not make sense to you - try and be considerate and give them support. They may feel weird, misunderstood and different so try and be patient.

4) Encourage people with early signs of the condition to get support. The earlier people can receive treatment and support, the better.

The #LetsTalkAbout Schizophrenia film is the third in the series by St Andrew's Healthcare, with other films focussing on Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and Dementia.

Follow the campaign across social and share our content on by using #LetsTalkAbout, and together we can break the stigma.