Living With Schizophrenia


Posted: Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Photo: on Shutterstock

November was men’s health month and much attention on social media was given to men’s health issues like cancer and suicide. In September we also saw the publication by the UK Office for National Statistics of the suicide figures for 2017 which showed a modest but very welcome drop in the death toll. Suicide is predominantly a male issue with around 80% of all suicides in the UK being men. Suicide in schizophrenia is a particularly tragic issue. Around 10% of people with schizophrenia will die by their own hand within ten years of diagnosis and a further 15% will attempt suicide unsuccessfully.

And the link between suicide and men is also part of the picture in schizophrenia. We now know that men with schizophrenia will tend to experience more severe symptoms than their female counterparts, will respond less well to medication and will be more prone to dangerous behaviours like suicide.

Much of the publicity around suicide has encouraged people to open up more, to talk to their friends and to try to elicit help from them when they are in crisis. However for people with schizophrenia what is key is not just about opening up more it is about getting ready access to the high quality psychiatric care that they need and this is often not happening. Responding to the latest suicide statistics Lucy Shonegevel at Rethink one of the largest UK mental health charities said:

“we at Rethink Mental Illness are hearing from people who can’t access the care and support they desperately need when they do seek it.”

If we are to be able to combat the issue of suicide in schizophrenia we must provide better access to psychiatric care and doctors and nurses working at family doctor’s practices and in the emergency departments of our hospitals must be better trained to watch out for the signs that a person with schizophrenia is approaching a crisis. Our mental health professionals also need to accept that early intervention in psychosis is the way to prevent tragedy and end the culture of “wait-and-see” that so many people with schizophrenia encounter when they seek help from the Mental Health Service.

Source: Suicides in the UK: 2017 Registrations. ONS, Viewed 5/12/18 at

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7 Responses

  1. diane says:

    my son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophenia at the age of 14 years he was sectioned for 6 years my son was violent his dr weaned him of his depo let him out of hospital with very little support . my son got very ill again and went for help the dr and hospital refused to help him .. after stabbing me in the head as his mother the drs still refused him any help .even after me begging for help and him being suicidal . he is now in prison the coart has ordered him a dr but he refused he’s now getting transferred to nhs .

    • David Bell says:

      Good morning Diane, Thank you for leaving your comment. Sadly this is a story we hear only too often. Mental health is very seriously under-resourced in the NHS. I have replied in detail via email with some resources that you may find helpful. David, Website Editor

  2. Bill says:

    After being marryed 6 years, my wife @37 “dropped off the edge”, as I did NOT recognize what she was going through, so when she said “bazzar” stuff, I would respond with a LARGER Bazzar comment, back to her!…. WRONG, as I learned the hard way after I made the comment at 11am on a Sunday, that she was next going to imagine “little men peaking out of our Pool to see her”, that afternoon when she appeared at my office door, suitcase in hand, stateing….”I am leaving, you can stay or leave, makes no difference”. We proceeded down back roads over 130 miles toward DC, where she was going to “see” President Clinton! After a 24 hr ordeal, having left the car in a remote area at 10PM that rainny night, to head off into the woody swamps! Police thinking I had “Killed my wife”, Police, FBI, Hospital psyc ward, and still 22 years latter she refuses to take medication! I would not wish this condition on anyones worse enemy!!

    • David Bell says:

      Good afternoon Bill, I have replied to your comment by email with some ideas for further information. David, Website Editor.

  3. Mary says:

    My son is as he puts it , being tortured nonstop, voices that are coming from speakers that tells him hes stupid , their gonna do things to his daughter and no one will beleive him. They tell him if he says anything they will kill her. He will not accept he might be schizophrenic because,he doesnt want to beleive this stuff is in his head. I am afraid for him he gets angry that i dont hear them or if i even try to suggest any thing other then what he believes. I dont know how to help him

  4. Patrick says:

    I’m a paranoid schizophrenic and have been for 4 years I cant accept my diagnosis I repeatedly question it and try to poke holes in it. After nearly 3 years in a forensic unit I no longer experience hallucinations im just left with delusions and extreme paranoia, im at a point where I struggle to leave the house. 2 days ago whilst sober I wrote a very serious suicide note and then went to a bridge with the intention of jumping off it but by pure chance 2 midwives stopped and potentially saved my life. I often wonder if its possible that my diagnosis is a mistake but they class it as established im still tied to a forensic unit by a compulsion order and I hate it im 4 years into this diagnosis and already want to die the problem is im scared of it, I had a very serious overdose on stimulants and it was terrifying I was lying on the floor staring death in the face had to phone an ambulance. Im in my 20s and have experienced more crazy stuff than most, the darker side of life seems to be what I experience. I regularly find myself in situations that most people never experience this diagnosis feels like a life sentence even though im not in a psychotic episode and my medication works I cant function like a normal person and its embarrassing no doubt people think that im a benefit scrounging mink but im not i want to work like everyone else I feel like a parasite draining the system ive lost my way in life I just done an emergency detox and im drinking again already I feel helpless. The forensic team are constantly trying to help me and I keep explaining its a waste of time but im seen as a serious risk to myself and others so they won’t leave me alone ive been on an order for my whole diagnosis and its really frustrating im seeing people pretty much everyday, I talk to nurses more than I talk to my mates and it just seems tragic if I had the bottle for it I’d kill myself but as I said I cant. Not sure why I’m writing all this on a random website but its good to just type this all out. Since the first overdose I’ve deliberately overdosed another 2 times in the hope it kills me but ended calling an ambulance. Im a regular at the a&e near mine for constantly taking insane amounts of amphetamine on several occasions people have seen me and called paramedics, i was in a high dependcy unit 3 times in a fortnight with nurses constantly monitoring me, they gave me so much benzodiazapines to make me comedown to the point where they thought I was gonna overdose on that as well. I’ve had anaesthetic specialists monitoring me a couple of times because of what they’ve been having to give me. Even 5mg im haloperidol doesn’t do much. Pretty much writing a book here but im sitting on my own in the middle of the night wasted. Im in a really dark place that I cant seem to get out of and I hope that someone or something kills me soon im not seeking attention or sympathy im just trying to get stuff off my chest and im fed up phoning nurses to speak about things, friends and family dont understand my situation and neither do I.

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