Living With Schizophrenia


Posted: Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Photo: Photographee.eu 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 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity

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9 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. Anon says:

    I have just been to my sisters funeral she was diagnosed at first with bipolar then schozoaffwctive disorder and was only discharged from hospital after being there for less than a month I want to sue the hospital for the care she received which was diabolical we had been trying to help her since 2015 and around 7 or 8 hospitalisations and even more attempted hospitalisations she had many delusions and hearing voices and very paranoid and would not accept she had a mental disorder but ultimately would still be here had she received the proper medical care for the condition but wasn’t ever allocated a worker or any proper after care procedures she wasn’t even able to open letters never mind keep an appointment it’s absolutely disgusting and they hve the cheek to say you hve 21 days to complain …. I am and it’s been after 3 weeks I want justice for my sister

  5. Shelley Burns says:

    I have schizo-affective disorder and have read for decades about mental illness I was once studying to be a therapist. I went throughgrade school to college living in the cracks. I have been a peer supporter for decades All of my life since grade school I have had suicidal ideation. I have lost many friends to suicide. I am 68 years old. I am also on a speaker’s bureau. People with a mental illness have to speak about it to others and also about suicide even if it is a little uncomfortable The media calls us all kinds of names without any repercussions. Anything having to do with the brain-people are afraid of .

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