Schizophrenia Simulation Features in Second Life

The BBC reported on the 19th March that Dr Peter Yellowlees of the University of California has created a password-protected area in Second Life (not First Life!) that allows the user to experience a simulation of a hospital through the perceptions of a sufferer of Schizophrenia.

The linked BBC article does extend the discussion into general Schizophrenia topics, such as stigma and interpretations:

“Schizophrenia is a kind of modern day leprosy.

“I do feel that the general public’s worst misconception about schizophrenia is that it somehow remains in their minds an intractable degenerative condition that we can’t treat – and this is so far from the truth.

“I would say stigma is probably one of the most important issues because it affects people’s lives in such a devastating way.”

Well said, Dr Yellowlees. Whilst I do believe the ‘Armageddon scenario’ is much of the time out of context and reason, aspects of how external figures may interpret the condition do make things harder than they need to be.

The entire article, and Dr Yellowlees’ comments, all seem extremely balanced and fair (to me). It ends with a quick comment from a patient, in regards to people’s perceptions of the condition and how he feels about it:

His patient Nick agreed. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after his A’ Levels and said he is frustrated by the way people portray his condition.

“People on the whole aren’t really interested, and if I do talk about schizophrenia, they often look a bit worried and decide to turn away.”


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