June 07, 2005

Introductory DVD on Schizophrenia

New DVD Gives Young a Voice and Educates those who have just developed schizophrenia or psychosis

A new DVD is being released in New Zealand "to help the 500 young New Zealanders who face psychosis for the first time every year." This is a revolutionary way for young people afflicted by psychosis to help other young people in the same situation.

It seems like every advocacy group and mental health center should have a DVD-based educational program like this to give to parents and individuals that are diagnosed with schizophrenia - ideally it would also include information on how to maximize the benefits of treatment, etc. National advocacy groups like NAMI and Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and Rethink in the UK, could easily produce a good DVD like this - and distribute it cheaply by mail nationwide, or via local centers. With low cost digital video cameras and cheap PC-based editing software - these types of DVDs could be produced for a few thousand dollars, and duplicated for $1 or $2 each.

The story on the new DVD out of New Zealand states:

At first it was just everyday conversation. Then they started telling her not to eat. It was not till two years later that Rita Davis realised the voices in her head were symptoms of schizophrenia.

"I was very unwell. I had voices and hallucinations, I thought they
were real. There was a stage when the voices were telling me not to eat.

"That's when I started losing weight and having eating disorders. I
isolated myself from the world. I would not let people in."

She refused to accept there was anything wrong, till one night she
hit crisis point and wrote a letter to her uncle asking for help. After a stay in Wellington Hospital's mental health inpatient unit and therapy at Porirua Hospital, the Titahi Bay 25-year-old learned to come to terms with her illness.

Now she is so comfortable with her schizophrenia she is one of four
brave young people who have told their story on a DVD designed to help the 500 young New Zealanders who face psychosis for the first time every year. Experiencing a mental illness was scary and anything that could help people understand what they were going through was an important step forward, Ms Davis said.

Project director Dion Howard, from Capital and Coast District Health Board mental health early intervention services, came up with the idea as a way of making mental health information more accessible and real.


Kia ora (hello) Laura, and readers, seeing as your comment was just
sent to me,and I was the project director, I thought that I would like
to comment on the project, called Mind Your Head. It is more than a
DVD format resource, but is strengthened by the fact that it also
includes printed material, and music! The printed material is
introductory information about psychosis, and not schizophrenia as the
writer stated, although it is correct that Rita discusses her
particular diagnosis, which is schizophrenia. This is an important
distinction in the field of early intervention in psychosis, where we
have found a dearth of information aimed at people whose preliminary
diagnosis is of a psychotic disorder. The music serves to offer a
hospitable and welcoming aspect to the resource, and also capitalises
on the fact that many young people, as indeed do many people, seek
solice in music. We had contemporary and reputable bands in New
Zealand contribute their music to the project. This is also a very
powerful endorsement from people who are likely to be more relevant
to young adults than, say, health professionals. We purposefully
avoided any clinical descriptions, or expert opinions on psychosis,
instead preferring to seek the advice and experiences of young people
who have recovered, or who are on the pathway of recovery. The
resource also reflects a bi-cultural aspect, as New Zealands first
inhabitants, or indigineous people, the Maori, are disproportionately
represented in statistics for presenting with psychotic illnesses.

Thankyou Laura for posting your comment on the web page, and I am
excited about your positive endorsement. I was unable to find any
comparable resource, and our clients did express dissatisfaction with
existing resources, demanding that "we should make something
ourselves." So we did. I would encourage other health care providers
and workers in this field to consider taking similar approaches. Of
course, we are in the process of evaluating this resource, which we
hope will confirm our hypothesis: Young people with psychosis will
respond positively to educational resources if they are relevant,
interesting, multi-dimesional in format, and from their own

Finally Laura, concerning your comments about cost, I did have a
similar idea to yours, concerning the availability of digital
technology. I found that this was indeed true, but not to the extent
that we anticipated. The project was only completed thanks to the
generosity of a local film production company (Sticky Pictures), who
provided expertise and service at considerably reduced rates. They
were motivated by the fact that they had personal experiences of
friends and family experiencing mental illnesses. The bands were
similarly generous, and so were three drug companies, who manufacture
anti-psychtoc medication (they supplied a base level of funding, which
enabled us to get this off the ground). It was unfortunate to see that more
traditional funders, and health care providers, were unable to see the
merit of the project. We believe it will demonstrate its worth, and
for around $15 (US$10)per unit, (they are not for indivdual purchase,
but rather we acquired sufficient funding to gift these to young
people at their first presentation) I think that this represents good
value, if the information and messages of hope that this resource
contains, are effectively understood.

Posted by: Dion Howard at June 29, 2005 08:40 AM

hi. my name is Daniel. I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia for some years now. Its very frustrating because no one knows the things I see, hear, feel. I have a psychiatrist, therapist. I like my psuchiatrist because he allows me to research medicines first before he prescribes them to me. Thus I know what the side affects are and what to look out for. I only started this after I was put on zyprexa which now I have diabetes from. Of course they don't inform you that you are eligible to sue the manufacturer for not putting out adiquate warnings about this before you take it and the doctors, I feel either don't care or just don't know what all the side affects are. And you only have 2 years from being diagnosed with diabetes to sue. I don't want the money, I just want them to be held responisble. But My psychiatrist doesn't have time to sit with you to find out really how you are doing. My therapist on the other hand, I am affraid to talk with. She seems like an old school teecher that is about to hit the back of your hand with a ruler at any time. But she is great with helping out with the legal things for me. She too doesn't really sit down to talk with you and I have a problem getting out what needs to be said. So that way she would know if everything is alright. I now am having heart problems and I just feel like giving up. The regular doctors see the old cutting scars upon my arms and thus I don't seem to matter to them. The first cardioligist I saw, seemed only interest in the money. I say this because he would only come in the room just long enough to say he saw you. He even gave me a 24 hour heart monitor that I know he didn't look at. Because if he had, he would of noticed the note with the machine saying that the sticky pads had feel off my chest at 10:30 and the machine was not reconnected back up till 5:10pm that afternoon. Pluss he would of seen the EKG taken from the emergency room showing my heart rate down to 40 beats a minute. Fortunately I was smart enough to makes copies of the EKG and had brought it with me. Then his only comment was that "of course your heart rate is going to slow down while you are resting." I don't know about you. But I don't sleep during the middle of the day. And if anything,my heart rate should of been up higher because I was getting highly irratated that I couldn't get no one to see me that day. Not the cardioligist ( they wanted to set me up with an appointment in 2 weeks ) not my primary ( she wanted to set me up with an appointment for 2 & 1/2 weeks) Not even some other doctors office. Finally my mom brought me to the emergency room where I was for a good 5 hours. They told me I am going to need a pace maker because my electrical system is breaking down. I fired my primary and cardioligist and got new ones. But the doctors office never faxed my papers to the new cardioligist and when he saw the cut marks on my arms he imediately changed his attitude towards me. He did a quick EKG and made a determination that my heart is fine. Even though he didn't have the previous EKGS showing my heart rate racing at 234 beats a minute or the one showing it down to 40 beats a minute. He said to come back in 6 months. My heart has been acting up for the past four weeks now. My chest is in constant pain. Because my heart would race up to 96 beats a minute sitting still for no reason and stay there all day or it would beat extreemly hard for a good 12 hours before I get a severe chest pain and then it would begin to beat normally. I cannot take my schizophrenia meds because they mess with my heart even worse. I feel there is no sence in talking with my psychiatrist or therapist, because why bother if your heart can stop at anytime because you cannot get the help you need. Although the new nurse I see at my new doctors office is great. She got me back on the regular Glucophage for my diabetes and my energy levels have sky rocketed. My old primary would not precribe the regular glucophage, she would only give me the extended release and I cannot swallow them because of scar tissue build up in my throaght from acid reflux desease. I'm tired of fighting to survive. Especially when I know the things I have can be treated but yet it is imposible to get it! Pam ( my new nurse ) is the only hope i have in doctors right now. Because at least she is willing to try to help. I have heard stories from other metal patients about how regular doctors treat them as if their medical conditions are all in their heads and I have even seen doctors treat them that way. But now that it is hitting home when I really need help, it is disheartning. I just don't know what to do any more. Hope others out there are not going through this also. But I know if it is happening here, it is happening elsewheres.

Posted by: Daniel Ingraham at November 21, 2006 09:41 AM

Thank you, described a very important issue

Posted by: Joani Taylor at February 12, 2008 12:35 AM

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