A new project is being started to establish an online discussion forum for people who hear voices and have always been able to cope well with them. Below is a letter written by the project staff (Marius Romme, Sandra Escher, Paul Baker, & Will Hall) seeking voice-hearers with supportive voices:
As you know the general population surveys have shown that in our society about 4% of people are hearing voices on a more a less regular basis. Most of these people hear voices that are supportive and inspiring and who function well with them.
Therefore there are about 250 million people across the world who have this experience and are not able to openly talk about it. This is because of the prevailing negative attitudes in society that regard this human experience as abnormal.
To date we have mainly focused on the people who hear voices and have become psychiatric patients. We have done this by assisting them to accept their voices as their reality, to make sense of the experience and to learn to live with their voices and their emotions.
This is important and necessary work but it has meant that we have neglected the largest group of voice hearers. The Hearing Voices Movement has learnt that hearing voices is a common human variation but society does not share this understanding. Therefore we think this is the time to influence society and that the most effective way to do this is by identifying the voice hearers who live well with their voices and to encourage them to speak out.
To realize this we need to begin a process that creates safe spaces for these people to share their experiences. Therefore we are looking for people who would be willing to participate in a private and moderated online forum, where members can adopt an avatar to protect their identity if they so wish.
We think the benefits of the forum for participants would be the opportunity:
We are asking for your help to identify people who hear voices, who we could invite to become members of this forum:
- to get a better understanding of the voice hearing experience
- to help change social attitudes and promote the freedom of minds
to share stories and experiences
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Marius Romme & Sandra Escher (Research and correspondence )
Paul Baker (Moderator)
Will Hall (Consultant)
To find out more about the project, or to get involved as a promoter, you can contact Dr. Romme here:
a.romme.escher – at – gmail.com