INTERVOICE campaigns on issues that effect the lives of people who hear voices. We are particularly concerned to fight negative attitudes and false perceptions associated with the experience. We seek to change societies perceptions of hearing voices.
We regard the hearing of voices as an aspect of human differentness, rather than in itself a mental health problem. As, with homosexuality (also regarded by psychiatry in historical times as an illness), one of the main issues regarding voices is respecting differentness and that is about human rights.
We are an emaciapatory, post-psychiatric organisation, we intend to change the way society perceives the experience, and believe by doing so, psychiatry’s attitude will follow.
Campaigning Events | Campaigning Issues
World Hearing Voices Day
Our main campaigning event is the World Hearing Voices Day, held every year on the 14th September.
The World Hearing Voices Congress
At our annual congress (2009, 2010) voice hearers, researchers and therapists present key note speeches, run master classes and themed presentations focusing on important aspects of the hearing voices experience and the recovery process. The Congress also included discussion around difficult issues such as the disease concept of schizophrenia and the use of medication. The themes and stories heard at the Congress go beyond theory and engaged participants in the everyday lives of voice hearers and the possibility of recovery.
Annual INTERVOICE Meeting
We have been holding the INTERVOICE meeting every year since 1997. The meeting is an opportunity for members of INTERVOICE Networks and supporters from around the world to meet each and discuss the development of our work. The meeting receives reports from developing national hearing voices networks; share information; and discuss cutting edge issues and research. Each year the meetings are hosted by a different national network, with previous meetings taking place in the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Australia and Denmark.
One issue we are very concerned about is schizophrenia.
INTERVOICE is critical of psychiatry in relation to the way the profession generally understands and treats people who hear voices and 0ur research has led us to the position that schizophrenia is an unscientific and unhelpful hypothesis which should be abandoned.
Increasingly, in acknowledgement of the methodological weaknesses, poor prognostic power, symptomatic variability and general weaknesses inherent in the diagnostic validity of the term schizophrenia, recent psychological literature has increasingly focused on specific or discrete symptoms or aspects associated with it, such as hearing voices.
See the article by Marius Romme about why he thinks the SZ label should be abolished.
An example of or campaigning on this issue was our recent:
Open letter to Oprah Winfrey
Last year (2009) we wrote an Open letter to Oprah Winfrey in response to the programme about about Jani, “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic” broadcast on the 6th October 2009. We wanted to tell heru about an alternative and more empowering approach to the experience of hearing voices then the one showed in the programme.
150 plus members of the mental health community around the world, including voice hearers, relatives, citizens, academics and educators, therapists, nurses and researchers were moved to sign the letter such is the level of concern we feel about the way Jani was being treated
Signatories included people who hear voices, academics, family members, psychiatrists, psychologists/therapists, nurses, community based workers and trainers.
Campaign for the Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label
CASL is calling for the label of schizophrenia to be abolished on the grounds that it is outdated, unscientific, stigmatising and presents a barrier to effective and appropriate support to individuals diagnosed with the label. Furthermore, it does not address the root causes of serious mental health problems.
We support the Campaign for the Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label visit their site here