If you hear voices, see visions or have similar sensory experiences – you’re not alone. The statistics vary, but somewhere between 3 and 10% of the population have experiences like these (increasing to about 75% if you include one off experiences like hearing someone call your name out loud).
Despite being relatively common, many people who hear voices, see visions or have similar experiences feel alone. Fear of prejudice, discrimination, and being dismissed as ‘crazy’ can keep people silent. At a time when we are told that it is ‘time to talk’, it is important that anyone courageous enough to speak out is met with respect and empathy.
People of all ages and backgrounds can hear voices at some point in their life, for many different reasons. Whilst some are distressed by their experiences, people can – and do – find ways of living with them.
We focus on helping to create respectful and empowering spaces, whilst challenging the inequalities & oppressive practices that hold people back.
For many people hearing voices is synonymous with schizophrenia and severe mental illness. But is this always the case?
HearingVoicesQld supports learning and education in non-clinical interventions and talking therapies to assist those living with voices to understand that they are not alone and that recovery is possible to live a good and fulfilling life.
Head to the link below to find out more.
Over the last two decades, the approach of the Hearing Voices Network to visions, voices and other unusual experiences has had a big influence on Psychiatry to the extent that hearing voices groups are now commonplace within Mental Health Services. The Hearing Voices Network is pleased that many of its ideas are now accepted and that, as a result, people have more opportunities to talk openly about their voices and visions.
However, the Hearing Voices Network is an independent charity and not in any way a part of Psychiatry. The Network stands as a distinct and very different organisation to that of the Mental Health Services in terms of culture, ethos, philosophy and values.
All groups which come together to focus on voices and visions are, of course, entitled to describe themselves as hearing voices groups but, unless they uphold the values of the Network, not all hearing voices groups are entitled to call themselves a part of the Hearing Voices Network.
While many voices groups work within the Network’s core values of acceptance and self-determination, many other groups work within Psychiatry’s remit of treatment of illness. We welcome the existence of treatment groups and their potential to help people but state very clearly that they are not part of the Hearing Voices Network. Treatment groups and self-help groups are different.
And then, there are many voices groups that fall somewhere in the middle between these two poles. These groups are typically set up and run by mental health workers within both the statuary and voluntary sectors. They may be in tune with the ethos and values of the Network but working within organisations that impose constraints and pressures on how the group must function. We recognise that despite such constraints, there are many amongst these groups that are genuinely working to empower members to eventually run their own group.
As a result of the situation outlined above, there is currently a strong need to clarify the identity of the Hearing Voices Network through establishing criteria by which voices groups can be recognised as members of the Network or not. And so, from numerous conversations within the Network, a Charter has been drawn up which identifies clear criteria for membership to the Hearing Voices Network. This includes criteria for full membership and criteria for affiliated status in recognition of those groups unable as yet to fulfil criteria for full membership.