Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey

In response to the programme about “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic”

A version for mental health professionals with references

20th October 2009

This is a new version of the open letter (19th October 2009) addressed to Oprah Winfrey and is intended for mental health professionals, academics, policy makers and other people interested in the issues raised by the programme about Jani, “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic”.

It has been written in response to the Oprah Winfrey programme about Jani “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic” broadcast on the 6th October 2009. We want to tell you about an alternative and more empowering approach to the experience of hearing voices.

If you have not seen the programme and associated article, see link to the programme here

125 members of the mental health community around the world, including voice hearers, relatives, citizens, academics and educators, therapists, nurses and researchers have been moved to sign this letter since it was proposed on the 15th October 2009. Such is the level of concern we feel about the circumstances that Jani finds herself in.

Signatories include 30 people who hear voices, 37 academics (with 9 Professors, 21 Phds), 10 family members, 10 psychiatrists, 17 psychologists/therapists, 9 nurses, 23 community based workers and trainers.

It has been reedited by Richard Bentall, Chair of Clinical Psychology, University of Bangor, Wales, to conform with academic standards and has been restructured with this in mind, it includes some new information and is referenced. We have done this to ensure members of the professional mental health community can be sure that the information contained is evidence based and has been subject to scientific research.

This is where you come in, please circulate this letter as widely as you can. It would be helpful if you copied me into any email you send, so I can keep track of where it is being posted. Also if the letter is published anywhere online or elsewhere, please let me know.

If you want to add your support, send me your name, title and some details about who you are and where you live. The more people who sign up the better. You can do this by adding your comments and details to the comment box at the bottom of the page or email contact us at [email protected].

You can view a copy of the open letter for mental health professionals, policy makers and researchers here

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