On the morning of May 23rd, dozens of people filed into a modern conference room at UBC’s Robson Square campus for the 2nd annual “Re-Frame: The Broad Impacts of Schizophrenia,” a public forum hosted by B.C. Schizophrenia Society.
Attended by family members, clinicians, social workers and people living with serious mental illnesses themselves, “Re-Frame: The Broad Impacts of Schizophrenia” took the form of an informal round-table discussion about everything from the nuances of navigating schizophrenia and psychosis diagnoses to models of success for long term treatment.
Hosted in recognition of National Schizophrenia and Psychosis Awareness Day, “Re-Frame” was divided into two sessions. The morning discussions focused around recognizing serious mental illness, while the afternoon discussions switched over towards stabilizing serious mental illness. Led by volunteer moderator Renato Zane, the conversation flowed seamlessly as participants opened up about their personal stories, shared some humour, and helped one another find hope.
“At first, we didn’t recognize what was happening as psychosis,” one mother shared with the room. “What it looked like was the extreme withdrawal of a very happy young man to one with very low social activity who had to for the first time work feverishly hard to pass exams. He wouldn’t listen to [our concerns] so it was very difficult.”
Both the struggles and the importance of family involvement was a topic that came up time and time again during these sessions. Kelly, from the Surrey/South Fraser Early Psychosis Intervention Team, reiterated the critical importance of family to the treatment of people dealing with psychosis and schizophrenia. “Families are the biggest and most important piece that determines the success you’ll have working with a client,” she says.
Courage to Come Back Award Winner and author Erin Emiru was on hand to prove that there is hope for a functional recovery from schizophrenia and psychosis. During the break, Emiru read from her book “When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey with Schizophrenia.”
Difficult in parts to hear read out loud, Emiru ended her reading with a sentiment of hope, “I’m doing well now, and am married and work as a peer support worker helping others with mental illness. If I can get better and do all of this, anyone can.”
A few photos from the day
“Re-Frame: The Broad Impacts of Schizophrenia” was made possible by the generous support of sponsor Janssen Canada.
A recording of the full event will be available soon.