Understanding Schizophrenia

One in 100 - Schizophrenia can affect people of all races, cultures, socio-economic groups and occurs equally in men and women.

Symptoms~Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by profound disruptions in thinking, affecting language, perception and sense of self.

  • Typically begin between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • Psychosis such as hearing voices or delusions
  • Difficulty concentrating, paranoid behavior and unusual disruptions
  • Altered perception of themselves, others and the world around them
  • Disruption in thinking
  • Withdrawal from friends or family and seemingly depressed
  • Lack of energy and being unable to sleep
  • Affected language

Schizophrenia is a treatable mental illness.

Access to timely treatments and supports can help people live full and healthy lives, including paid or volunteer work, fulfilling relationships and good mental health. When people have challenges accessing the care they need or experience stigma, their risks for poor mental health increase:

  • 4X more likely to be victims of violent crimes
  • 20% shorter lifespan
  • Often report hostility, fearful attitudes, stereotypes and insensitivity from others
  • Many young people have to discontinue their education
  • 15% are employed in Canada, often paid less and hold fewer full time positions

There is help. People can and do get better with the help of:

  • Family and friends
  • Community based services, social and peer supports, counselling and crisis services
  • Doctors, medications and hospitals
  • Healthy lifestyle, exercise and healthy eating
  • Employment and education
  • Supportive Housing

Impact on Caregivers:

Although there are many reported benefits for both caregivers and care recipients, without the right supports, caregiving can be a challenging.

  • 67% of caregivers who responded to a National Survey of Schizophrenia Society of Canada members reported that caregiving had negatively impacted their emotional health.
  • 75% of respondents expressed some difficulties coping with their caregiving role, with 1 in 10 expressing regularly overwhelmed and stressed out.

Caregivers often provide a range of supports that have been shown to decrease rates of hospitilization and involvement with the criminal justice system while increasing rates of recovery.

Knowing what to look for can help people seek treatment and resources sooner and can result in better outcomes
For more information please call us 1-800-465-2601 or email contact@ssns.ca
Additional Resources:

Early Intervention through Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program First episode psychosis ages 15-35 email: EarlyPsychosisProgram@nshealth.ca or call Monday to Friday 902-473-2976
SSNS Caregiver Guide: Rays of Hope (call or email for your copy today)
IMAGINE Program: Schizophrenia & Psychosis Resource created by the Alliance of Otsuka and Lundbeck is available email contact@ssns.ca for a copy 
Schizophrenia Research Institute Library
Mental Wellness Today (Sz Magazine)
Schizophrenia.com : A non profit community providing in depth information, support and education
Get Help Early: Working together to overcome psychosis
Dr. Yes: Online youth education
Mind Your Mind: A place for youth and emerging adults to access information, resources and tools during tough time
Minding Our Bodies: Healthy Eating and physical activity for mental health
The Downside of High: Teenagers who start smoking marijuana before the age of 16 are 4-6 times more likely to experience psychosis especially with family history
Living with Schizophrenia
Mental Health Channel
A simulation of a psychotic episode