PATRICK COCKBURN TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2012
When my son, Henry, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in early 2002 I knew nothing about mental illness. After seeing him for the first time in hospital in Brighton I went online in my hotel room and was dismayed to discover that the US Surgeon-General had said that schizophrenia was to mental disorders what cancer was to physical illness.
Later, I mentioned to close friends what had happened to Henry and found that a significant number knew all too much about schizophrenia because they had a close relative who suffered from it. Looking after a schizophrenic brother or a sister, or, most commonly, a son or a daughter, turned out to be a preoccupation that dominated their lives.