Hearing Voices – not just a mental health condition

Kate - Understanding hearing voices co-facilitator

June 20, 2024

The experience of hearing voices that other people do not is more common than many of us realise (maybe as many as 1 in 10 regularly hear voices).  However, it is something that is not well understood in society, and even less discussed.  Unfortunately, negative stereotypes about voice hearing as being associated with serious mental health problems and criminal behaviour, lead many people to feel fearful about sharing their experiences.  But these are unhelpful myths about voice hearing – many people who hear voices do not use services, may not have a diagnosis of any mental health condition, and are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crimes.  Hearing voices can be a positive or comforting experience for some people, and often might be seen as a response to life events, like trauma and grief.  In other words, there are many reasons why people hear voices.  It is sometimes helpful for people who hear voices and their supporters to meet together to learn more about the experience and to share with each other.  Talking more about voice hearing helps to reduce the stigma and supports people who hear voices to understand that they are not alone.

The recovery college offers an introductory course in understanding voice hearing, for voice hearers and their supporters (carers and staff).  This is led by people involved with the hearing voices network, with contributions from those with lived experience.  We encourage anyone who is interested in knowing more about hearing voices to join us.

There is also a weekly hearing voices group, held at Prosper House in Wakefield on a Tuesday from 12-1.30pm.  This is open to anyone who hears voices (you may bring a supporter if you wish), you do not have to have had input from mental health services to attend.  This is an open space to discuss all aspects of the experience of voice hearing, meet other people who hear voices, and learn about coping strategies.  This is a drop in open group, no referral is required, you can just turn up.  We hope to see some of you there 😊

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