SANE Peer Ambassadors Sandy and Hannah share what it was like star in the schizophrenia episode of ABC TV's You Can't Ask That.
Sandy: I chose to share my experiences about living with schizophrenia in the hope of raising compassion, respect and understanding for those who carry the 's' label.
Hannah: I took part in the episode to decrease the stigma surrounding psychosis, and also to put a human face on the diagnosis.
Sandy: People can think we are axe murderers or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Sometimes it feels as though the word 'untrustworthy' is tattooed on our foreheads.
Hannah: I think the biggest misconception about schizophrenia is that it makes people dangerous.
Sandy: It was challenging answering questions without seeing them first, but that's the uniqueness of the program. I felt comfortable during the filming, but I'm also very selfconscious and can't stand to hear or see myself on camera. I'm glad I met Steve during the filming process, who is a lovely person living with schizophrenia.
Hannah: The interview process was quite intense and many of the questions were quite confronting, as was the filming setup and being in front of a camera. However, I felt like it was a safe environment and felt supported thoughout the experience. Although it was an emotional day, I'm glad I did it as the end result and the impact it'll have is worth it.
Sandy: I think the episode is fabulous. The selection of people is across age and gender is great and hearing the experiences of their schizophrenia is heart-rending and intense. The episode presents a complex and compassionate understanding of schizophrenia.
Hannah: I think it's a really positive, humanising representation of people who have a diagnosis. It also highlights just how bizzare some of the misconceptions around schizophrenia are.
For more on schizophrenia, see Spotlight on Schizophrenia.