Breaking the taboo of psychosis in young adults. And ensuring that it can be discussed openly. That is the purpose of the awareness-raising campaign “Doe Eens Goed Gek” (Like Crazy). With a documentary and two short films featuring well-known Flemings, Peter Van De Veire and Bill Barberis, the campaign's goal is to bring about a positive change in the existing conceptions of psychosis.
It is estimated that every year 3.5% of the Belgian population struggles with sensitivity to psychosis. A first psychotic episode usually occurs between the ages of 16 and 35, a crucial phase of life. A time during which many changes are taking place. In addition to good medical treatment, social engagement is also an important mainstay of recovery. Bram, who struggles with psychosis, tells us: “What I miss the most when I am in treatment for psychosis? The feeling of being supported.”
Shattering the taboo
Psychosis consists of a unique mix of symptoms. Some people experience feelings of mistrust and hear voices, while others wrestle with mood fluctuations, a lack of motivation and an inability to concentrate. The image of psychosis in our society is still very negative. “People with a psychotic disorder are often seen as unpredictable and dangerous. This causes a very distorted image and negative preconceptions”, says Dr. Kirsten Catthoor, a psychiatrist at the Stuivenberg Psychiatric Hospital.
This image often keeps young people who are sensitive to psychosis from getting the support they need from their social environments. The people in their surroundings often distance themselves due to ignorance, misplaced anger or feelings of discomfort. Maggie De Block, Federal Minister of Health and Social Welfare, agrees: “Children and young adults must be able to speak about psychological problems without the taboos. The faster and better this happens, the faster and better we can help.”
Crazy about Sofie!
Starting today on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the short, two-part series “Crazy about Sofie!” will be released. Sofie goes on a couple of dates with presenter Peter Van De Veire and actor Bill Barberis. During these too-crazy dates, the trio takes a good look at the common misconceptions and the stigma surrounding psychosis. In a documentary which directly follows the series, experts and patients highlight the need for better awareness.
An illness like any other
The main message of the Like Crazy campaign is hope. Brenda also knows what it's like to go through psychosis. She hopes that “people will see that psychosis is an illness like any other, an illness that you can overcome and recover from. We are not crazy.” Peter Van De Veire hopes that the campaign will prompt “young people, and everyone actually, to offer a listening ear to the story of someone with sensitivity to psychosis, instead of just running away.”
The informational campaign Like Crazy (www.goedgek.com) is an initiative of Janssen in close cooperation with Similes, DENK, Te Gek?!, VDIP, Zorgnet-Icuro, Awel, VLESP, and the Agency for Care and Health. This campaign has previously been run in the Netherlands.