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Schizophrenia under focus in Istanbul exhibition

Let Us Not Ignore – Schizophrenia Journey from Pre-history to Today,” a newly opened exhibition in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, aims to display the lives of schizophrenia patients.

Mesut Demirdoğan, the head of the Friends Schizophrenia Patients Association, said he has had Schizophrenia for 30 years and stressed that patients are able to sustain their family, work and social lives.

“The disorder is not just about the patient, but also about the ignorance of the general environment, prejudices, and mistaken information published about the disorder,” Demirdoğan said.

“In our association, we have friends who are schizophrenia patients and work in state and other institutions. We have married patients,” he added.

Negative schizophrenia news in the media contributes to the stigmatization, he added.

“For example, if a schizophrenia patient is involved in an incident the media presents it in a very exaggerated way, saying: ‘Schizophrenia patient spreads terror.’ This kind of news really hurts us. I believe giving correct information about the disorder is important for raising awareness. Therefore, I think that our exhibition and projects like
these are beneficial for everyone. It makes us happy to be part of projects like this that help break the prejudices existing in society,” Demirdoğan stated.

The exhibition features an “empathy cabin,” which aims to make visitors experience what schizophrenia patients feel
in the most intense period of the disorder. It also includes a simulation called “rotating bed,” which shows the kinds of primitive treatment that patients were exposed to back when doctors were less knowledgeable about the disorder.

The exhibition is free and can be seen at the Beşiktaş Mustafa Kemal Culture Center until March 31.

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