Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s this week’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media.

“A perspective-changing light and sound experiential event about changing the perceptions of what schizophrenia and other psychotic diseases are, who the people are that live with (the conditions) and what we can do to help them.”

That’s how psychotherapist and CEO of the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) Linda Stalters describes Hearing Voices of Support, a multi-faceted, interactive, educational, artistic and FREE event taking place at One Art Place in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood beginning this Tuesday (May 16) and running through Saturday May 20. this week. (Details Here)

Besides the experiential aspect designed to help people understand what its like to battle schizophrenia, there will also be refreshments and the opportunity to meet with experts, as well real people who live daily with the challenging condition and who are nothing like the psychotic and horrific caricatures often portrayed by Hollywood.

Among the participants are artist Calen Pick (Glenn Close‘s nephew) who has schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and Pulitzer Prize-winning author journalist Ron Powers (Flags of Our Fathers, and No One Cares About Crazy People) who has two sons with schizophrenia. Other participants include:

Dan –  Standup comic, with schizophrenia

Rob – Nephrologist and advocate for schizophrenia recovery, Dan’s dad

Jessica – singer/songwriter with schizoaffective disorder

Emmetthonors student, playwright and public speaker with schizoaffective disorder

Susan – communications director and advocate for schizophrenia, Lance’s mom

Lance – Clerk for online marketing company, diagnosed with schizophrenia

Doris – NAMI Educator helped develop a crisis intervention training program for the Texas police

The event is a passion project for Stalters who clearly has a heart for those living with schizophrenia and similar brain illnesses. “If people receive treatment then they can live a meaningful life they they can enjoy so much better.’ she passionately declared in our conversation. “Unfortuuntely,” she continued, “what we do is we punish people. They end up incarcerated or homeless and that’s profoundly cruel. We have to change. These people didn’t apply to have a brain disease they are predominantly genetically-predisposed to. There can other things that cause changes in their brain development but they didn’t ask have these illnesses– anymore than someone asks to have a heart attack or to have appendicitis. They unfortunately have this illness that is horrendously misunderstood and undertreated and people are ostracized,  punished and abused.”

And, far different than in the movies, Salters notes that people who have schizophrenia are six times more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators of it.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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