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I'm Still Here—The Truth About Schizophrenia

In an effort to communicate information about schizophrenia, and to dispel any false perceptions about the disorder, NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) is joining in a cooperative venture with Wheeler Communications to produce I'm Still Here - The Truth About Schizophrenia.

The film, according to executive producer William W. Wheeler, does not focus on people with schizophrenia who commit acts of violence, but rather on our neighbors and family members who are struggling to lead normal lives. The film strives to explore the stigma and myths that surround the disorder and tells the story of people helped by modern therapy and those who are not in formal treatment programs.

Experts estimate that two in every 100 people suffer from schizophrenia. The film examines the lives of a computer programmer, a college professor, a church organist, a homeless person and others affected by schizophrenia to illustrate how the disorder changes a person's life and to emphasize how common it is.

One family featured in the film is the Hollisters-Hal and Patsy, of Orange County, Calif., and their two grown daughters. Annick, who has schizophrenia, and her mother were filmed walking about the Los Angeles County Zoo, where Annick works part-time. The second daughter, Meggin Hollister, Ph.D., was interviewed on camera, presumably about on her ongoing research into the causes of schizophrenia. (The senior Hollisters have advocated for the mentally ill through their work in NARSAD, as well as NARSAD Artworks, which has become a national clearinghouse for art by mentally ill artists.)

According to NARSAD, symptoms of schizophrenia fall into two categories: positive and negative. Positive symptoms include disordered thinking, delusions and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include lack of visible emotion and awareness of other people's feelings; lack of energy, spontaneity or initiative; lack of pleasure in once-enjoyable activities; and difficulty in concentrating. There is no medical test for schizophrenia. Diagnosis by a psychiatrist is recommended.