April 12, 2007

Leading a Good Life Despite Schizophrenia

Instead of being housed in institutions, "social rehabilitation and group treatment" facilities are on the rise in Japan, enabling more people with schizophrenia to live rich, fulfilling lives. Shining as a star example of how well such group homes can work, is the Bethel Home in Urakawa.

The Japan Times Online has a story about Bethel Home, which is a facility for psychiatric patients with schizophrenia who typically suffer from auditory or visual hallucinations. It also is a business run by the patients themselves.

The home's members are still treated by doctors at a nearby hospital on an outpatient basis. They learn about their own illnesses, and also about the symptoms of other members of the home thus enabling them to provide help, understanding, and support to each other. Masako Yoshino, who developed schizophrenia in her second year of high school, said that patients want someone to notice their hardships and they want to keep their ties with others.

One member who still has auditory hallucinations in spite of treatment says that "The name of the game is how to lead a rich life" while hearing them, and that they don't have to be debilitating.

Mitsuo Yamaguchi, chairman of the non-profit "National Federation of Families of the Mentally Ill" in Japan, says,

"Bethel Home members, grappling with many hardships, successfully fit into communities. We hope to learn from the dynamic way they approach their activities."

Karen Nakamura, an assistant professor of anthropology and East Asian studies at Yale University in the U.S. says that she would like to introduce a "Bethel" style community in the United States. She has paid three visits to the home in Urakawa and produced a documentary film about it.

Read the full article: Bethel Home's Unique Gift: Leading a rich life despite schizophrenia

Related Reading:
New Group Home in Seattle - To Offer a New Kind of Life For Five Women

$2 Million more for Group Homes for Mentally ill in Canadian City

US: Mentally ill suffer deadly neglect


I hear many voices inside my head. They talk and fight with each other. Sometimes, I find myself in a new place far from my last known location. I have abduction and conspiract theories running inside my head. I have visions of several huge funds transfers to my bank, but none of these funds are transfered to me. Am I schizophrenic?

Posted by: Hit Mee at April 12, 2007 10:47 PM

Only a doctor can diagnose schizophrenia, which is a severe neurobiological disorder of the brain. Only a doctor can say whether your symptoms are because you have schizophrenia, or a psychological problem, or because you have some other condition such as hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, Cushing's, Wilson's, schizoaffective, depression, Hemochromatosis, temporal lobe epilepsy, brain tumour... and the list goes on.

Please see a medical professional in order to find out what is causing your symptoms.


Posted by: Jeanie at April 13, 2007 07:17 AM

I know of only one place in the US that sounds comperable. Karis Community in Denver CO is a beacon of light in a world of darkness.

Posted by: Brian Gies at April 13, 2007 08:52 AM

Please read: A HIDDEN SHAME, DANGER IN GEORGIA'S MENTAL HOSPITALS. Recently published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Newspaper is a series of articles about suspicious deaths and the substandard care in Georgia's Psychiatric Hospitals. Go to:www.ajc.com

Posted by: M. Gordon at April 13, 2007 01:44 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required