Peoples' experiences and views on ‘schizophrenia’ or similar labels such as ‘psychosis’.



The label took away our voice

A mother

This is my personal experience of having my son labelled. This is what it means to us.

Of all the labels to be given, ‘schizophrenia’ is the most debilitating. Our son has a label of Paranoid Schizophrenia! It is the label used by the media to create fear in the public. It has disempowered our son, taken away his confidence, independence and self-esteem. Thanks NHS!

The debate should be wider

A supporter

I totally support the need for an inquiry into the schizophrenia label.  However, I think the debate and inquiry should be much more wide ranging.  

Inhumanity: the real legacy of schizophrenia label

Don Weitz

One way to libel, dehumanize, and sometimes destroy people you don’t like is to label them “schizophrenic,” “psychotic,” or “paranoid.” I should know. In 1951 when I was 20 and locked up for 15 months in McLean Hospital (a notorious psychoprison near Boston affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General  Hospital), the shrinks labeled and stigmatized me as “schizophrenic”  while I was struggling with a common identity crisis that neither my  family nor the psychiatrists recognized.

Cultural ignorance and psychiatric labeling

Naphtali Titus Chondol

I was admitted to hospital in 1988 against my will and coerced into receiving medication that I did not need.  At the time of admission, I was a student of Northumbria Bible College (formerly Lebanon Missionary Bible College) and also undertaking a moral crusade against vices in British society. But my views and beliefs were wrongly interpreted as an illness. If the professionals concerned had taken the trouble to consult with people from my own cultural background the facts would have been perfectly clear to them.

Still waiting to be heard


I was first admitted to an adult mental health ward for assessment when I was 14 years old. I had a history of running away and self-harm over the previous 2-3 years and my parents felt they could no longer manage.

What we need is hope, not labels

Mike Watts

I am providing this testimony as the carer of someone who has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia in the past, and as a person who has had the diagnosis also. There are three points that I wish to make; the first relates to my own story, the second to that of my wife, and the third concerns the way that I see the lives of many young people today to whom the label is attached.

Our lives, our selves: beyond categories

A survivor

I had my first emotional and mental crisis (my preferred term) in the late 1960s. According to an insider, it took the psychiatrist two or three days to decide whether to give me a diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘manic depression’, settling on manic depression as I appeared to be ‘more responsive’ than I might otherwise be. The psychiatrist told me later he thought he had a ‘case of catatonic schizophrenia’ as I remained completely rigid (like a plank) when asked to bend my knees. (I recall quite clearly deciding not to co-operate!).

A mother and son’s journey

Rossa Forbes

This is my submission on the devastating impact of the schizophrenia label. My son was first given his label at CAMH.

I am a mother of a son who was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia in December 2003, a son who is doing well today perhaps due to my refusing to buy into the medical model of the so-called ‘illness.’ I wasted a couple of precious years at first because I bought, albeit without much enthusiasm, the costly medical model. I spent the years until now struggling against this model.

Like smoke, it fills the room

Alexandra Crawford

Schizophrenia is a complex word structure used by historical figures of psychiatry and fearfully used by people who either, from one extreme, know little or, from the other extreme, are certainly confused by the external symptoms of a person who is using words and word pictures that are too abstract and ambiguous to sense rapport and 'normal' and predictable function.

Schizophrenia has much to teach us


In 1997 I encountered a man from Italy who had a profound impact on my life and whom I thought was connected telepathically with me. I was 32 at the time. By 1999 I was diagnosed schizophrenic as the voices in my head were taking up much of my waking life and preventing me from functioning productively or parentally (my eldest was taking A levels!).