How the Stigma of Schizophrenia Affects Treatment

January 9, 2011 Holly Gray

marvin-rossWhen Marvin Ross' son was diagnosed with schizophrenia, it was a relief to finally know what was wrong. Still, Marvin says the stigma of schizophrenia prevented his son from being diagnosed earlier, delaying treatment.

A medical writer and the author of Schizophrenia: Medicine's Mystery, Society's Shame, Marvin joined us on the HealthyPlace Mental Health Radio Show to discuss the stigma of schizophrenia, and how it impacts the treatment and lives of those living with it.

Listen to "The Damaging Stigma of Schizophrenia"

For more information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of schizophrenia visit the HealthyPlace Schizophrenia Community.

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Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with schizophrenia? Has the stigma of schizophrenia gotten in the way of your treatment? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

APA Reference
Gray, H. (2011, January 9). How the Stigma of Schizophrenia Affects Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 23 from

Author: Holly Gray

Gloria Hill
January, 13 2011 at 10:37 am

My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was almost 19. It was the worse thing that could have happened to him. It was devastating to his brother, his dad and myself. I decided since it was an illness of the brain, and I was in the medical field that I should not treat his illness like it was somethingt to be ashamed of so I starting telling my friends, co workers, and other family members he had a psychiatric disorder. I would also say he was taking medication and getting cognitive behavioral therapy so he was in treatment. In my quest to inform the public, I gave up my career in radiology and got some training in counseling which I found really did not educate anyone about the experience of having or supporting someone with schizophrenia. I got a job with our local mental health department working with families of adults who were in our system of care and started a support group with a licensed psychiatrist to work with struggling families who like the Arizona family of the recent fatal attacks needed to be taught how to navigate the system of care and learn out to work with getting help using the involuntary treatment laws. I continue to do this today. I am not ashamed and anyone who finds me offensive because of my son's illness is not someone I would want to be friends with. The brain is part of the body and there are diseases which are acceptable like Parkinson's. We have to work much harder to make schizophrenia also acceptable. Treatment helps, but currently there is no cure but then there is no cure for cancer either. Families must get out of the closet and speak up because it will continue to be a stigma if families are ashamed to speak out.

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