Social platform connects schizophrenics with community

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NEW YORK — “Hearing Voices of Support” was launched last week by highly awarded New York–based creative engagement agency The Bloc for SARDAA (Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America), a Texas-based not-for-profit organization that is active throughout the United States as well as overseas through Schizophrenia Alliance, assisting with recovery and helping people with schizophrenia-related illnesses and their families live fulfilling lives.

“Hearing Voices of Support” is a social media platform that houses 2- to 5-minute interviews with people who have schizophrenia-related brain illnesses as well as carers of people with these conditions. The first 7 were promoted last week during Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States. Another 11 will be rolled out in the coming weeks and in the months leading up to World Schizophrenia Day on May 24, 2017

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“These are inspirational stories that need to be heard,” said SARDAA Executive Director, Linda Stalters. “The initiative is important in helping to show that people diagnosed with this type of brain disorder can live productive lives. Many are also helping other people.”

One in 100 people are diagnosed with schizophrenia. It affects not only those with the condition, but also those who care for them and the wider community. The people affected often undergo a great struggle to get back on track and then on top of that face stigma and discrimination.

“The creative team behind this initiative, Sharon Howard-Butler and Brit Till, recognized a need for people with schizophrenia and related disorders to be heard, and to hear voices of support from the wider community,” saidElizabeth Elfenbein, Creative Partner at The Bloc. “They are both very aware of the impact thought disorders can have on lives. Sharon has a close family member diagnosed with schizophrenia and Brit had a friend with a related disorder.”

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Stephanie Berman, also Creative Partner at The Bloc, said, “There is no doubt that great strides have been made in raising the profile and reducing the stigma of mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. People are becoming more open about having these conditions. But you don’t see many people putting up their hands to say they have a schizophrenia-related disorder. It’s why the team from The Bloc partnered with SARDAA to find people who were willing to tell their stories. And why we’ve gone beyond just raising awareness to driving change through engagement.”

About The Bloc: The Bloc is a leading health creative engagement agency based in New York. Founded in 2000 by Susan Miller Viray and Rico Viray, The Bloc is also a founding member of Indigenus, the largest independent global network of entrepreneurial healthcare communication companies. For more information, visi

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About SARDAA: Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) is a not-for-profit company that promotes improvement in the lives of people with schizophrenia-related brain illnesses and their families by providing support, hope, and awareness so that early diagnosis, treatment, and community services can increase recovery.

SARDAA aims to eliminate the stigma and myths about schizophrenia and to raise awareness of the disease so that early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of recovery. – PRNewswire

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