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Today (10th October 2014) is World Mental Health Day – an opportunity to celebrate the importance of mental health education, awareness and advocacy. 

The day is organised and celebrated by the World Federation for Mental Health, and is supported by the Mental Health Foundation, the UK’s leading mental health research, policy and service improvement charity. 

The international day was first celebrated in 1992, and this year the theme is ‘living with schizophrenia’. Approximately 26 million people around the world suffer from the disorder and despite it being treatable; more than 50% of sufferers do not receive adequate treatment. 

Schizophrenia is a diagnosis given to those who have severely disrupted beliefs and experiences. During an episode (which can last for several weeks), people may lose touch with reality, see or hear things what are not there, hold irrational beliefs or appear to act strangely due to delusions and hallucinations. Schizophrenia is one of the most widely misunderstood conditions, with more media misinformation about the disorder than any other mental health condition. Sensationalist stories often portray people with schizophrenia as dangerous or suffering from a ‘split personality’.

As a result, the aim of World Mental Health Day is to improve public understanding of the disorder and raise awareness of the many different ways that can help treat the condition including medication, talking therapies or self-help groups. 

Speaking of the day, Luke Aldred from Sanctuary Mental Health said: “Mental health professionals play a vital role in supporting vulnerable people, and it is great to hear about any initiative which focuses on the true impact of mental health disorders. We fully support World Mental Health Day and hope that it achieves its aim of improving public awareness of schizophrenia.” 

How are you celebrating World Mental Health Day? Tweet us @SanctuaryMH 

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