because its #DisabilityPrideMonth i wanted to make a thread about some of the issues that people on the schizophrenia spectrum face 🧵
for starters, schizophrenia spectrum disorders are: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, and brief psychotic disorder.
people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of vioIence than perpetrators. they are up to 14 times more likely to experience vioIence than to be vioIent, and the danger of living in the community is higher than any danger to the community. (brekke et al.)
since deinstitutionalization in australia, the rate of victimization of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders has more than doubled (most recently recorded to be around 37%). (short et al.)
this is especially difficult given that these same people are at risk of vioIence within psychiatric facilities as well.
schizophrenics in california were found to have a higher arrest rate than community samples but an equal crime rate based on convictions; many arrests and complaints are for "disturbing the peace" with eccentric behaviour. (brekke et al.)
many also experience vioIence from people close to them. at a psychiatric hospital in nigeria, 75% of female patients with schizophrenia (58 out of 77) reported having experienced at least one form of intimate partner violence. (afe et al.)
in a study involving 51,925 homeless people, researchers found schizophrenia to be highly prevalent at 10.29%, and psychotic disorder in general had a prevalence of 21.21%. other studies have shown schizophrenia to be one of the most common mental disorders among homeless people,
which is linked to a greater risk of substance abuse and higher mortality rates. (ayano et al.)
there are also disproportionately high unemployment rates among people with schizophrenia. over the past 20 years in the UK, the employment rate for schizophrenics has only been around 10-20%, whereas for the general population it is 75-80%.
in the past 50 years in the UK, the unemployment rate for schizophrenics has actually increased. (marwaha & johnson)
this is a graphic showing employment rates among schizophrenics and the general population in norway, where schizophrenics were found to have an unemployment rate of almost 90%. (evensen et al.)
this breaks down the activity of people with schizophrenia and those with bipolar disorder in sweden from 2006-2013, where only 3-4% of schizophrenics were working. (holm et al.)
this graphic from the same study shows unemployment rates relative to years from diagnosis, which are notably low for schizophrenics as the illness progresses.
NAMI found that schizophrenics are 6-7 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population in the USA, with an unemployment rate of 70-90%.
this is not for reasons inherent to the disorder, but rather a result of social and economic barriers that people face because of stigma and inadequate psychiatric care.
another issue with employment is that based on their income, people claiming social security or disability run the risk of losing their benefits. this can jeopardize access to things like therapy and medication.
it is possible for universities to order a student to take an "involuntary leave of absence" in response to a mental health crisis, real or perceived. on paper, this is only done when the student is deemed to pose a significant threat to themselves or to other students,
but that decision is made at the university's discretion on a case-by-case basis, and with an illness so highly stigmatized as schizophrenia, it can be easy for universities to treat schizophrenic students as a liability.
the student may also be removed from on-campus housing or be barred from entering the campus at all. reinstatement is conditional; they may choose to reject a student who feels they are ready to return.
NASMHPD found that american students who experienced psychosis have been told outright not to return to campus at all and even threatened with arrest, and some were placed on involuntary leave with no warning or explanation.
many students are never told how to deal with this kind of situation, and end up being unable to continue their education if there is no one to advocate for them.
people on the schizophrenia spectrum also often are deemed incompetent when it comes to their own treatment and life decisions, and their autonomy is taken away. i wont get into it in this thread, but elyn saks has written a number of articles about it that i will link.
these are just some of the things that you should think about the next time you see someone use words like sch/izo, skitz, or psych0tic as pejoratives. it may be easy to distance yourself from, but seemingly small things such as that do real damage to real people.
elyn saks articles:
capacity to consent:…
competency to refuse medication:…
the consent dilemma:…
for the sake of clarity i am on the schizophrenia spectrum (schizoaffective), i just said they instead of we because a lot of the things i mentioned are not my experience (i am not homeless or under guardianship, for example) :)

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