WCPO: CURESZ educates, removes stigma surrounding schizophrenia

In 2007, Bethany Yeiser was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it wasn’t something she came to terms with easily at first.

She eventually accepted the diagnosis after she understood that schizophrenia is a brain disorder, not a weakness or moral failing, and after she found a doctor and medication that helped get her life back on track. She even graduated from the University of Cincinnati, with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology.

Now, she’s working to educate others about schizophrenia through the CURESZ Foundation, which she founded with Henry Nasrallah, MD, the doctor who got her on the path to recovery. Nasrallah is a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine.

CURESZ, which stands for Comprehensive Understanding via Research and Education into Schizophrenia, works to correct misconceptions about schizophrenia and eliminate the stigma surrounding psychiatric brain disorders as it inspires hope among patients and their families.

Reaching college students is especially important because people most often begin to display symptoms of schizophrenia in their late teens and early 20s, said Peirce Johnston, MD, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine and a UC Health psychiatrist. He’s also a CURESZ Foundation board member.

“There’s nothing more lonely, I think, than being someone who’s suffering from any mental illness and not having support, or just being misunderstood by friends, family, the community,” Johnston says. “So to have a resource where they feel they can be at home, where they feel understood, where they can ask questions, is vital.”

Watch the full WCPO story.

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