They Heard Voices: screening and audience discussion 

An Independent documentary film by Jonathan Balazs
27 April 2017, from 6:30 – 9:30pm
Kennedy Lecture Theatre, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guildford Street, London WC1N 1EH

An “illness” with no “cure”, the label schizophrenia has persisted for over a century. This film offers multiple perspectives. Is schizophrenia hard science? Or an arbitrary, catch-all term with no real meaning? The film is a series of wide-ranging interviews with voice hearers, medical historians, anthropologists and psychiatrists from Britain and America, presenting different people’s views side-by-side. The result is a tapestry of contrasting colours

Further information about this event and ticket reservations can be found on Eventbrite.

Screening and audience discussion

Panel to include:

About the Director 

Jonathan Balazs is a videographer, image maker and technician living and working in Toronto. He first came across Mad Culture through a relationship he cultivated with a rapper from his hometown. The two would collaborate on music, and their film “Mars Project” explored the rapper’s belief in an alien invading his thoughts. After completing Mars Project, Balazs still had more questions than answers. They Heard Voices is part of his ongoing journey, investigating the Hearing Voices Movement and the diversity of human experience.

People featured in the film  

Rachel Waddingham

Rachel ended the last century in a psychiatric hospital, diagnosed with schizophrenia and buying into the idea that schizophrenia was a life-long mental illness to be managed with medication. From 2007-2015 she managed Mind in Camden’s Hearing Voices Team, and is now a freelance trainer and consultant as well as being a Trustee for the National Hearing Voices Network, ISPS UK Vice-Chair and Intervoice Chair. She no longer takes medication and chooses to live alongside her experiences.

Angela Woods

Dr Angela Woods is a medical humanities researcher who is fascinated by the nature of so-called psychopathological experiences, and by the ways in which people understand, interpret, theorise, represent and research them. She is co-director of a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing called HEARING THE VOICE at Durham University.

Two doctors with contrasting approaches: 

  • Dr. Avery Krisman, a psychiatrist in private practice, expresses the opinion that schizophrenia is a man-made construct and no help to either clinician or patient.
  • Dr. Albert Wong, neuroscientist (University of Toronto) studies the role that genes play in brain development, and seeks to provide a medical explanation for hearing voices and changes in mood.

Erin Emiru

Erin was a neuroscience researcher at University of British Columbia when she became convinced her brain cells possessed a remarkable, unique ability to regenerate. She emailed senior scientists suggesting they do a postmortem analysis of her brain and, to this end, requested that they let her know when she should kill herself. Erin believes this behaviour was attributable to schizophrenia. She has written a book, When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey With Schizophrenia. She is married and works as a peer support worker in Vancouver.

Dr. Suman Fernando

A retired psychiatrist specializing in race issues in the mental health system, especially in East London, Dr Suman discusses how certain labels, e.g.”schizophrenia”, are disproportionately bestowed upon low-income earners, those living in urban areas and those of Afro-Caribbean origin. He is the author of many books on the intersection of politics and psychiatry, including Mental Health, Race and Culture.

Kevin Healey

Kevin is a voice-hearer who tells us about the Hearing Voices movement in Toronto and provides more insight into lived experience of “psychotic experiences.” 

Mark Roininen

A support worker for homeless men in Toronto, Roininen talks about stigma in relation to homelessness and in relation to psychiatric diagnosis, and about the experience of feeling paralysed when called upon to help.

Dr. Edward Shorter

A historian at the University of Toronto, Dr Shorter provides background and analysis of how the term schizophrenia originally developed. He talks about psychopharmacology and suggests a relationship between schizophrenia and depression, based on his belief that the same drug treatments are effective for both conditions. He is author of History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to Prozac.

For further information about this event, or if you are unable to reserve your ticket online, please contact John Wetherell at Mind in Camden either by email or telephone (020 7241 8978).