Abstract

People with schizophrenia live their lives in the midst of misunderstanding and stigma from both the public and health-care providers, often fueled by media reports. Both laypersons and professionals believe that those with schizophrenia are egocentric, lack insight and empathy, and are without the capacity for trust and attachment. Individuals with schizophrenia themselves are people who are unheard, especially in regard to their identities beyond the illness. The Schizophrenia Oral History Project was initiated in 2011 to provide a platform for persons with schizophrenia to speak directly to mental health professionals and the public, in order to counter existing prejudices. To date, twenty-two narrators have offered their stories, and this article provides excerpts from nine of those. These interviews highlight the strength and courage of people who suffer from schizophrenia and reveal their essential humanity. We present these stories in opposition to prevailing beliefs, and we discuss contributions they can make to social, cultural, and professional changes that could improve the lives of those with the condition.

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