Shirley’s Mental Health Blog – July 2022

This month, Shirley talks about schizophrenia and National Schizophrenia Awareness Day


Its National Schizophrenia Awareness Day on 25 July. This day helps raise awareness and focuses on the challenges faced by hundreds of thousands of people living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia in the UK, and millions more worldwide.

‘Schizophrenia is a diagnosis given to some people who have severely disrupted beliefs and experiences’ (Mental Health Foundation).

The word schizophrenia literally means a “fragmented mind”.

It does not mean a split personality – this is a separate condition altogether known as dissociative identity disorder and is not related to schizophrenia.  A person with schizophrenia does not have several different personalities like a Jekyll and Hyde, as many people believe, but rather the various parts and functions of their mind are often disconnected and confused.

Some people think hearing voices means someone is dangerous, when voices are actually more likely to suggest that they will harm themselves than someone else.

Did you Know?

  • Schizophrenia affects about 1 in 100 people in the UK during their lifetime.
  • Schizophrenia occurs in all countries and societies of the world.
  • 6% of the population say they have experienced at least one symptom of psychosis.
  • Research suggests that 9.8% of children and young people have experienced symptoms of psychosis
  • Psychosis usually first emerges in young people between the ages of 15 and 30, men being affected earlier than women.
  • Males have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia during their lifetime however age of onset is lower in men.
  • African-Caribbean men in the UK are particularly likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, despite there being no evidence that they are biologically more vulnerable to it. It has been suggested that this is caused by difficult life events, such as migration, racism, environment and cultural differences that affect mental health.
  • Schizophrenia is a killer. Sufferers have a 5 – 10% chance of dying by their own hand within ten years of diagnosis -which is around two and half times higher than the general population.
  • Schizophrenia runs in families. If you have a parent or sibling with the illness, you are more likely to suffer from it yourself.

A person with Schizophrenia may experience ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms:

  • Positive symptoms are when you experience things in addition to reality. For example, you might see or hear things that others don’t. Or believe things that other people do not.
  • Negative symptoms are when you lose the ability to do something. For example, losing motivation to do things or becoming withdrawn. They often last longer than positive symptoms.

Professionals aren’t sure what causes schizophrenia. The main factors that can contribute towards the development of schizophrenia are believed to be genetics and the environment.

There are different types of treatment available for schizophrenia, such as medication and psychological treatments.

If you would like to learn more about schizophenia, here are two Youtube videos below:

Antonio talks about schizophrenia – watch it here

This is a really good clip that I use in my training, it helps understand what it’s like to have Schizophrenia – watch it here. 

If you want to share your stories of your own particular experience of mental health and what has helped you, or if you would like to contribute to the blog, you can reply directly, or e-mail me on

It would be great to hear from you

Take Care,


About Shirley:

I have been a mental health nurse for 28 years. I work in the Health and Wellbeing Team, and my main role is to facilitate mental health and related subjects. I also facilitate epilepsy and emergency rescue medication training. I provide support and consultations to managers and teams supporting individuals with complex needs and mental health difficulties. This blog is written to encourage people to start talking about mental health, in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma.