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National Schizophrenia Foundation Responds to Virginia Tech Tragedy
No evidence clearly linking schizophrenia to violence
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 19, 2007 -- The National Schizophrenia Foundation (NSF) extends its deepest sympathies to all who have lost a beloved family member or friends in the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech.
The National Schizophrenia Foundation, an organization that represents persons with schizophrenia, wishes to clarify some misconceptions about the relationship between schizophrenia and violence that are surfacing in the media.
Despite some reports in the media, there is absolutely no available information
to indicate that Cho Seung Hui, the shooter in this tragedy, suffered from schizophrenia.
Although it is unclear at this point, if he did suffer from a major mental illness,
the current descriptions appear more consistent with a mood disorder, a delusional disorder, or a severe personality disorder.
While there are several important lessons to be learned from this terrible event, drawing diagnostic inferences from brief historical snippets or bits of his writings at this stage is a fraught with a high probability of error.
Only two-three percent of acts of violence in our society are perpetrated by individuals with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Individuals with schizophrenia are twice as likely to be victims of violence versus perpetrators of violence. Untreated psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations are associated with an increased risk of violent behavior in schizophrenia. When individuals with schizophrenia receive adequate treatment, they are no more likely than persons without any mental illness to engage in violent behavior. Serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and major mood disorders are treatable brain diseases and delays in their treatment lead to unnecessary suffering and decline in function.
Since these illnesses first manifest themselves in adolescence and early adulthood, access to adequate assessment and services is essential. Oftentimes, individuals
are in high schools or colleges at this stage of their lives.
The National Schizophrenia Foundation stands ready to help all universities, colleges and public schools proactively meet their needs.
One of every one hundred people suffers from schizophrenia - undoubtedly you know someone affected. The National Schizophrenia Foundation proudly sponsors Schizophrenics Anonymous. This program offers hope and recovery within a mutually supportive community.
The Foundation's programs are provided at no cost to recipients or their families.
We rely on the generosity of our sponsors and donors to continue providing these vital and effective free services. Please call (517) 485-7168 or visit our web site at http://www.nsfoundation.org.
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National Schizophrenia Foundation
Takes Position on Virginia Tech Tragedy
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 19, 2007 - On behalf of the National Schizophrenia Foundation (NSF) and all of our Schizophrenics Anonymous groups through the country and the world, we grieve with Virginia Tech on the monumental loss.
The National Schizophrenia Foundation urges all universities, colleges, and secondary schools to take proactive steps to address the mental health needs of its students. Schizophrenia and other related illnesses tend to manifest themselves in early adulthood which is, more commonly than not, high school and college years.
Universities, colleges and secondary schools should take proactive steps that include:
- printed information on communication boards
- mental health facts at school orientation
- printing information in their newspapers on a daily basis
- training programs for staff, faculty, athletes, resident assistant, counseling services, faith-based organizations, sororities and fraternities
- Awareness locations include information posted on bus or other transportation systems, bus benches, bulletin boards, libraries, newspapers, newsletters, hotlines and message boards, medical clinics, security personnel and all high visible areas
- Training sessions are important for resident assistants, faculty, student leaders of all organizations, tutorial departments, guidance counselors, medical clinics, security personnel and school operations and maintenance staff.
- Develop a clear and concise communication method that concerned students and staff can access and/or relay information about, to seek help for themselves and others should they recognize the signs and/or have questions or concerns.
Universities, colleges and secondary schools should ensure that an adequate mental health infrastructure is in place to meet the needs of the students and faculty.
The National Schizophrenia Foundation stands ready to help all universities, colleges and secondary schools proactively meet the needs of their respective institutions.
One of every one hundred people suffers from schizophrenia - undoubtedly you know someone affected. The National Schizophrenia Foundation proudly sponsors the Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) self-help network. This program offers hope and recovery within a mutually supportive community.
The Foundation's programs are provided at no cost to recipients or their families. We rely on the generosity of our sponsors and donors to continue providing these free vital and effective services. For more information about schizophrenia or to help, please call (517) 485-7168 or visit our web site at http://www.NSFoundation.org