There is HOPE in scHizOPhrEnia

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Charity Spotlight: This blog post was provided by Diane MacDougall, Executive Director of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.

You know that voice in your head that tells you when you’re making a bad decision or when you’ve done something wrong? Maybe it shouts loudly to let you know that your outfit looks awesome today or you think you flunked your final exam. It may pop into your mind every once in a while, but imagine if that voice in your head appeared all the time, 24/7, all hours of the day and night. It keeps you up at 4:00 a.m., it follows you to work, it’s with you on your commute home, and it’s at your dinner table with your family and friends—it simply doesn’t shut up. Playing on repeat like a turntable in your head, that voice feeds you sometimes positive information but sometimes harsh and negative commentaries, hallucinations, and a story of reality far from the truth. Hallucinations, delusions and voices in one’s head can be associated with something called schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness, characterized by profound disruptions in thinking that affects language, perception, and sense of self. Symptoms appear typically between 15 and 30 years of age, and involve difficulty concentrating, paranoid behavior, unusual outbursts, disruption of thinking, lack of energy because of an inability to sleep, psychosis such as hearing voices or illusions, altered perception of themselves and others around them, withdrawal from family and friends, depression, and changes to their language.

Did You Know?

  • People living with schizophrenia are four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes.
  • Schizophrenia affects one in one hundred people of all races, cultures, socio-economic groups and occurs equally in men and women.
  • People living with schizophrenia have a 20 percent shorter lifespan.
  • Those affected by schizophrenia often report hostility, fearful attitudes, stereotypes, and insensitivity from others that they experience are projected towards them.
  • Many young people living with schizophrenia are forced to discontinue their education.
  • 15 percent of people living with schizophrenia who are employed in Canada are paid less and hold fewer full time positions.

With no known cause, researchers believe a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and environment contribute to the cause of the disorder. Access to timely treatment and support can help people live full and healthy lives, and knowing what to look for can help people seek treatment and resources sooner which result in better outcomes.

At the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, we have been supporting people and their families for over 30 years by providing resources, education, individual and group support, and advocacy which affects public policy and encourages research. As we continue to grow our programs and services, we rely on volunteers, donors and partners. Only with their support, we’re able to support those living with schizophrenia and their families.

We also provide a safe housing option by building relationships with property managers and hosting weekly house meetings for residents to address any problems, encourage roommates to chat in an effort to fight isolation, develop healthy social relationships, and share healthy lifestyle and eating tips. To help our program participants make sure that they have access to opportunities outside of home, we also work to make sure that we share volunteer and work opportunities with program participants. We continue to squash the stigma faced by those living with schizophrenia by educating and engaging with the community to teach them about the disorder and dispel any myths.

Our goal is to reach all Nova Scotians who are directly or indirectly affected by schizophrenia and psychosis, and to help them along their journey to live a happy and plentiful life.

To learn more about the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, or to make a donation, please visit their Charity Profile Page.

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