Connecting People and Ideas in the Hearing Voices Movement

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Today is World Hearing Voices Day

14th September 2012

The International Community for Hearing Voices today celebrates a growing awareness that voice hearing is part of the diversity of human experience and that people can hear voices and be healthy.

World Hearing Voices Day has been celebrated since 2006 to challenge negative attitudes towards people who hear voices, de-stigmatise the experience and raise awareness of the issues facing the estimated 5% – 10% of women and men and children who hear voices across the world.

INTERVOICE, the coordinating body of the hearing voices movement, an influential world wide alliance of people who hear voices (aka auditory hallucinations), professionals and family members this year also celebrates 25 years of sharing messages of hope and understanding that hearing overwhelming voices are a resolvable and understandable experience.

As Marius Romme, the President of INTERVOICE recalls:

In 1987, I had no idea the impact that the discovery that accepting and making sense of voices was a helpful alternative was going to have. Yet, after twenty five years of work we have built a unique and formidable movement of voice hearers and allies that has brought about a big change in the way hearing voices are regarded and has found new ways of helping people overwhelmed by their voices.”

The international awareness day intends to combat the secrecy and stigma surrounding hearing voices. The aim is to celebrate voice hearing as part of the diversity of human experience and raise awareness of the fact that hearing voices, in and of itself, is not a sign of mental illness — indeed many people hear voices, such as painters, author’s, spiritual mediums and others are sought after, for their voice hearing capabilities.

It seeks to challenge the common misperception that all voice hearing is a symptom of medical illness, while in fact many voice hearers are able to live with their voices and even consider them a positive part of their lives.

The are now 27 countries with networks and initiatives working to promote recovery, acceptance and education,providing opportunities for people who hear voices to meet and talk, sharing view points and strategies to support each other.

Instead of the traditional practice of ignoring the voices we:

  • Encourage people to talk and understand their voices
  • Raise awareness of the phenomenon of hearing voices in society
  • Challenge negative attitudes towards people who hear voices
  • Challenge incorrect assumptions about voice hearing as a sign of an illness,
  • Raise awareness of the issues of stigma and discrimination faced by people diagnosed with a mental illness, and
  • Give voice to the call for dignity, liberty and self determination

For more information about our approach to hearing voices visit the INTERVOICE site and activities taking place across the world to celebrate World Hearing Voices Day go to https://www.intervoiceonline.org/news-events/2012-world-hearing-voices-day

Further information:

INTERVOICE www.intervoiceonline.org, the International Network for training, education and research into Hearing Voices, holds the sixth World Hearing Voices Day on 14th September 2012

20012 marks the 25th year since the hearing voices movement took its first step, when in 1987, Dutch voice hearer Patsy Hage challenged Marius Romme, her psychiatrist, with her criticisms of his clinical approach to her voices. She pointed out that rather than using voices only in order to make an illness diagnosis it would be more useful if he helped her learn to cope with the experience. He listened, acted and the rest is history. From this beginning INTERVOICE, has grown into an international network with 26 participating countries.

As psychiatrist, Prof. Marius Romme, the President of INTERVOICE recalls:

“In 1987, I had no idea the impact that the discovery that accepting and making sense of voices was a helpful alternative was going to have. Yet, after twenty years of work we have built a unique and formidable movement of voice hearers and allies that has brought about a big change in the way hearing voices are regarded and has found new ways of helping people overwhelmed by their voices.”

The international awareness day intends to combat the secrecy and stigma surrounding hearing voices. The aim is to celebrate voice hearing as part of the diversity of human experience and raise awareness of the fact that hearing voices, in and of itself, is not a sign of mental illness — indeed many people hear voices, such as painters, author’s, spiritual mediums and others are sought after, for their voice hearing capabilities.

Each year Hearing Voices Networks and Groups worldwide mark the occasion with an activity or event to:

For a recent in depth article about our work published in the USA, in American Scholar entitled “Living with Voices” go here http://theamericanscholar.org/living-with-voices/

Read more about the Hearing Voices Movement at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearing_Voices_Movement

Intervoice was set up to support the International Hearing Voices Movement, celebrating the diversity and creativity within it. We do what we can to share information and connect people with groups, networks and resources.

Congress poster
World Hearing Voices Day Postcard
WHVD
WHVD Card
WHVD Card