June 25, 2007

MTV True Life Program Searching for People who Have Schizophrenia


We've recently been contacted by a producer at MTV's True Life program. They are planning a program on people who have schizophrenia and are looking for participants for their program. Anyone who lives in the US is a potential candidate. The MTV True Life program seems to handle the issue of serious mental illness with a reasonable level of sensitivity. To see an example of this you can view a recent True Life program they did on Autism - here: True Life - I Have Autism.

This seems like a good opportunity for people who are stable and want to help increase understanding about schizophrenia in the public, so as to reduce stigma about the disorder.

If you are interested in participating in this TV program, we encourage you to first discuss the idea with your psychologist, psychiatrist or doctor - to make sure that you understand all the pros and cons of such participation. Full details and contact information if you're interested in the TV program is listed below.

True Life: I Have Schizophrenia

Have you been diagnosed with schizophrenia? Do symptoms of your illness, such as changes in ability or personality, or difficulty distinguishing reality from delusion, interfere with your everyday life? Do your meds have side effects that are hard to deal with? Does your illness make it difficult to maintain friendships or date? Do you feel like you suffer from discrimination at school or work because of your illness?

If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia by a doctor, we’d like to hear from you.

To Participate or Get More Information:

Please email MTV at tl2008@mtvstaff.com and be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a photo, if possible.

Additional Information:

You may or may not be familiar with MTV's True Life -- it's a long-running, award winning documentary series that seeks to have young people share their stories, in their own words. The format is strictly first person, which is to say that we don't filter the voices of our subjects through narrators or any similar third parties. All we do is follow them; it's our hope that by allowing these people to use their own voices to tell their stories, and communicating directly with their peers, we can impact the way people interact and engage with the world they live in.

As you probably already know, over 100,000 young adults in the United States will be diagnosed with Schizophrenia this year. With the usual age of onset between 16 and 25, schizophrenia is a medical illness that few young adults are aware of. MTV’s True Life hopes to document the everyday life of a schizophrenic – whether medicated or not. True life wants to know – are these young adults having difficult distinguishing reality from delusion? Are they getting the medical help they need? How does their condition affect their ability to maintain friendships or date? Do they face discrimination because of their illness?


I just missed the age requests. This seems like a great idea on the surface. Who knows if "mtv" is savy enough to pull it off tactfully.

Posted by: Phil at June 25, 2007 06:57 PM

I think it's a great idea and very important to have someone who is taking medication and going to a psychiatrist regularly so as to give the right message to younger people, as some will encounter this illness during their lives.

I can' get an idea of how tactfully MTV will produce it as you can only view the autism videos in America- pity.

Posted by: x-g-x at June 26, 2007 07:13 AM

I think this will be a good vehicle to make young people more aware of the effect of the illness on many things we take for granted. Our ability to make friends, plan our days, go to a dance, meet with family, go to school or work and many, many other things we do every day. The hope is that people who see this will be more sensitive to mental illnesses in general and have an empathetic attitude to someone who is mentally ill.

Posted by: Murli at June 26, 2007 02:52 PM

I love the idea! I wish i could but then i would have to kiss my social life away. Since i am still in high school ppl would make fun of me..more. They already view me as the 'weird' girl but have no idea what really goes on in my life and how everyday is a struggle. If i didnt have a mom more worried about her "image" through me, i'd consider it. But i think its more for a person who is already MARRIED, has a stabled JOB,and OUT of school. then the hard part is over. But it would be nice to confess on tv. :)

Posted by: Rachel at March 5, 2008 08:17 PM

Er, maybe its just me, but I'm a little resentful at the idea--kind of seems like I'd be exploited for something I don't even believe I have in the first place. Who are doctors or TV producers to tell me what's real or not? If I see it, its there. I don't consider this as a mental illness, I'm actually offended by that term. I'm not ruddy ill, I've got no fever! God, and those Head-Doctors freakin' trick you, I don't need meds, and I don't know what that whole "suffer from discrimination at school or work because of your illness" thing is about. Discrimination? By who? Those people aren't real to me, I have no idea what they say, and I doubt they know anything. It's not like I parade the freaking halls announcing my therapist thinks some of my friends aren't real, or shriek about the "voices" I hear. I don't consider them voices, I consider them people. It's rude to offend them like that. I keep that to myself and a few selected friends--but I'm pretty sure if they saw head-doctors too they'd be accused of being mad. Birds of a feather, flock together, right? I've pretty much learned to cope with most of it, and yeah, it does get bothersome that sometimes I can't even get out of my own house because I'm suddenly paranoid or anxious, or I have no idea where I am or whats even real. But in all honesty, do you really think having a camera crew follow around a "Paranoid Delusional Schizophrenic" would help matters? And they're strangers! I'm an extremely happy person, maybe that's because I'm too "delusional" to be anything else, eh? And the whole idea that half of my life isn't usually in "reality" makes me feel like crap. Why would I want to watch a show about how crazy I actually am? Yeah, what happends when I skip out of "reality" and start blabbing away to a camera crew about stuff that sounds nuts? And then have more strangers watch it? It's like a kick in the face, really. It's like saying, "Hey, these people aren't normal. Lets follow them around and exploit their life!" so other "normal" people can watch it and either "pity" you or scoff at you. Maybe I'm just taking it personally, maybe its a wonderful idea.

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