I was recently asked my opinion about the popularity of "What Schizophrenia Sounds Like" YouTube videos. The student asked:
I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on the way they've become so popular on such a democratized medium, rather than just being used by professionals. Do you think there are any problems with the way that anyone can make, upload, and listen to them, or do you think it's a greater step towards empathy?
Here's my reply -
I don't have a problem with "non-professional" people experiencing a hearing distressing voices simulation. What I do have a problem with is folks listening in a voyeuristic way as if hearing distressing voices was a freak show. Those of us who hear distressing voices don't just hear them. We simultaneously have to navigate our world and responsibilities. When one simply listens to a distressing voices replication, then one walks away thinking Oh, this is so awful. No wonder they go mad. When people go through a distressing voices simulation like the one I developed, they have to also perform a variety of tasks and interact with the world while hearing distressing voices. Participants in my simulation walk away saying, Wow, folks who hear distressing voices are really strong people. I was so tired after a 45-minute simulation. I have a newfound respect and empathy for folks who hear distressing voices.
That's my 2 cents. Your thoughts?