Ending Stigma around Schizophrenia


My activism project was about the negative stigma surrounding schizophrenia. A lot of people assume that someone who has schizophrenia cannot live any sort of a normal life. Media and society paints somebody with schizophrenia as a dangerous person and this is just not true. My project was to create posters to minimize these sorts of negative beliefs of schizophrenia. Many people see a “schizophrenic”, instead of a person with schizophrenia. Up to 40% of schizophrenics attempt to commit suicide, often because of the sense that the illness is a death sentence given by society.

I hung thirty of these posters up around Washington DC and UMBC in hopes people would read them and get a better view on schizophrenia. If I could just change a few peoples minds about schizophrenia I would consider my project a success.

NAMI at Umbc was very helpful in helping me create these posters, giving me tips on other things to add to it. I had a hard time getting in contact with other NAMI offices though. I had these posters printed at Kinkos. Once printed I hung these posters up in parts on UMBC and in busy places in the DC metro area. I tried to put them in places that I thought people would actually see them.

Doing this project made me realize how easy it is to go out and try to make a difference. Running a full large scale activism project would be a lot of work, but you can do small things and make differences. I know this was a relatively small project but if I changed just one persons mind on schizophrenia I consider it a success. If I had to redo this project I would have been more insistent in trying to get the other NAMI organizations to help me out. I still consider this project a success though.


2 thoughts on “Ending Stigma around Schizophrenia

  1. Perhaps a better approach would be to copy what the entire nation of Japan did – abolish schizophrenia permanently and replace it with a less stigmatizing word.
    Or take Dutch psychiatrists Jim Van Os approach and argue that schizophrenia as an illness does not exist – i.e. that psychotic experiences exist along a spectrum and there is no cut off point at which such experience is or is not schizophrenia.

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