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Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America launched a new initiative, Hearing Voices of Support, a critical milestone in the history of efforts to advance understanding about schizophrenia-related brain illnesses and reduce the enormous discrimination people face. This is the first widely viewed portrayal of real people with psychosis-related brain illnesses, as well as their loved ones and caretakers, speaking in their own voices about what their lives are really like and how people can be supportive. It breaks some of the tremendous stigma people face in school, the workplace and everywhere. The multi-pronged initiative: is comprised of a social-network where visitors can hear and share stories; short videos of people speaking of their experiences with psychosis; and a multi-level media campaign, including a major jumbotron in Times Square in New York City including a “Flash Mob”. A three-day sensory experiential event will be launched in New York City in May 2017 and additional cities across the country, as funding permits. It is an initiative to promote acceptance, hope, support, and recovery for not only those living with the illness, but also those around them. Never before have people living with a schizophrenia-related brain illness had such positive public exposure.
Hearing Voices of Support takes a typical symptom of psychosis and creates a positive interactive initiative, transcending information and awareness campaigns to engage a diverse community of people. A full sensory audio-visual installation consisting of voices, sound design, videos, music and interactivity; guests switch on lighting and visual effects as they walk through pools of light with speakers and projected personal stories and positive voices of support. A studio is offered for their own recorded voice of support to add to the project. The event features artwork and music by as well as personally engaging with people affected by psychosis. Validated survey tools will measure the impact on stigma and be evaluated by a Harvard research team.
SARDAA’s Hearing Voices of Support initiative uses a four-pronged strategy: a website hearingvoicesofsupport.org where visitors can hear and share stories; short films of people speaking of their own experiences with schizophrenia spectrum brain disorders, a multi-level media campaign, including traditional and social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram; including the first jumbotron in Times Square in New York City, displaying the positive HVoS message regarding schizophrenia with a companion “Flash Mob” and utube posting. The experiential event will complement the website, www.hearingvoicesofsupport.org Never before have people living with a schizophrenia-related brain illness had such public exposure. This is a dynamic initiative that people can visit and add their stories and “voices” of support either with a video, verbal or text.
SARDAA has secured funding from corporations, foundations and private sources as people embrace the uniquely inspirational quality of the Hearing Voices of Support initiative. Some of the video’s are of individuals who are members of other organizations such as NAMI and Team Daniel other individuals are members of the art’s community and bring their friends to the initiative.
Any organization can link their website to hearingvoicesofsupport.org and the facebook page and add their video to the facebook page and add positive voices of support. We can help them work with the film producer to create additional professional interviewed films. We can provide a partnership to duplicate the experiential Hearing Voices of Support with our producer director in any location.
The Hearing Voices of Support campaign seeks to eliminate the discrimination of psychosis as well as create a positive community of acceptance and hope for all of those affected. Discrimination affects employment, personal relationships, and medical and other services. People affected by schizophrenia have stated that “the rejecting behavior of others may bring greater disadvantage than the primary condition itself” (Thornicroft, Rose, Kassam, & Sartorius, 2007). HVoS is incorporating one of the most effective means for implementing lasting change in attitudes and behavior a positive direct social contact with people affected by schizophrenia (Thornicroft, Brohan, Kassam, & Lewis-Holmes, 2008; Corrigan & Watson, 2002; Gaebel & Baumann, 2003). Gaebel and Baumann (2003) along with positive media portrayals of those affected by psychosis. Validated tools measuring stigma will be used to assess changes in perspectives pre and post participating in the experiential initiative.