Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My Brother is Not a Threat, He Has Schizophrenia

Given the recent violence that has rocked our country, I think it’s important to address the myth and public misconception that people with mental illness are inherently violent. Unfortunately, the media plays a role in perpetuating this misconception and research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that the media’s focus on violence and mental illness actually exacerbates stigma and decreases support for people with mental illnesses.

It’s important to challenge this misconception for two reasons. First, it’s simply not an accurate representation of the facts. Second, because this misconception contributes to discrimination and stigma, which interferes with access to mental health care, especially for minorities.


It is surprising even in the medical community the first go to is are you scared?

I shake my head and say no. A sane angry person is far scarier than someone with MI.

I can only speak from my own experience. My brother and his illness has brought a world of violence and hostility to me and my families life. I know this isn’t the case for all people who suffer from this disease. Being schizophrenic doesn’t make his behavior any less scary or acceptable for me and my family to be around. Schizophrenia might explain his behavior. It doesn’t make it OK. Some people with sz. aren’t a threat to those around them. There was a time when my brother was first diagnosed- I tolerated mental, verbal abuse to remain in his life. That somehow “understanding” his illness and his degree of accountability made his violent outbursts less personal or hurtful. I hope- hope- hope other people don’t have the same experiences I had with their family member. My personal experience is that my brother’s illness manifests in hostility. -And its OK for someone to draw the line if a persons personal well being or safety is threatened.


The issue that came up most often when I was undergoing daily verbal and mental abuse from my husband was: Is there a potential for physical violence? He is a tall, strong and imposing man. When his rages got to the point where he was yelling loudly, shaking, gesturing wildly and blocking the door so I couldn’t leave, I would wonder if the incident would end in violence. The incidences never did, but people at the domestic abuse center encouraged me to leave him because of the potential.

When he is aware and his thinking is clear, he describes himself as a peaceful man who would never hurt another person unless it was an emergency. I trust him when he says this, but as you say, fefifofum69, it does not make it any less scary or acceptable to be around. Plus it is difficult to explain to people who have had no contact with sz sufferers before.