National Schizophrenia Awareness Day takes place on 25 July and is an opportunity to highlight the difficulties millions of people living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia face and how we can tackle the stigma and discrimination which surrounds it.
What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complex mental health condition that is related to psychosis. Although everyone with the diagnosis experiences it differently, there are commonly recognised symptoms including:
- disorganised thoughts or speech
- emotional or body language changes
What are the misconceptions about Schizophrenia?
“1 in 100 people experience schizophrenia.”  Yet, there are many misconceptions about this mental health condition. These include the myth that schizophrenia can make people more dangerous or violent. The truth is individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are more likely to be crime victims or harm themselves more than anyone else. Another myth is that schizophrenia means that the person has a split personality, however, symptoms of schizophrenia refer to experiences rather than someone’s personality.
What is the cause?
Schizophrenia can be caused by a variety of factors. These will vary for everyone but can include:
- Traumatic life events
Traumatic life events can cause high levels of stress. Examples include suffering from abuse, experiencing homelessness, losing your job, the loss of a loved one, or financial issues.
- Drug usage
Cannabis and other drugs can lead to symptoms of schizophrenia. “Researchers still aren’t sure whether using recreational drugs directly causes schizophrenia, or if people who develop schizophrenia are more likely to use recreational drugs.”  Studies have shown that high-potency cannabis use in mental health recovery can result in relapse too.
If your parent or sibling has experienced psychosis, you are more likely to develop schizophrenia.
- Brain chemistry differences
Research has found that people may be more likely to experience schizophrenia due to disrupted brain development during early childhood or pregnancy.
Is recovery possible?
Schizophrenia will be a life-long condition for some people which will require daily management. This could be a combination of medication, talking therapies (such as CBT) and a strong support network.
However, according to Rethink Mental Illness, approximately “one in four-to-five people with schizophrenia will recover completely and go on to live independently without further episodes.” 
Where can I find help for my mental health?
For all emergencies, mental or physical, please call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, there is support available to you 24/7. Find your local urgent helpline and a list of our mental health support services here.
Find out more about Schizophrenia and access support groups, information and advice from our colleagues Rethink Mental Illness.