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Hearing Voices Network changing the way mental health is viewed

03 Jan 20 1351

By , Columbian staff writer
Published: December 30, 2019, 6:05am

It was a cold, clear blue-sky day in early 2014 as John Herold was standing in a friend’s driveway in Tacoma talking on the phone to Portland resident Kate Hill.

A little more than a year earlier, Herold had been hospitalized after going into what doctors labeled a manic state. He had huge amounts of energy, couldn’t sleep and was having unusual beliefs. He was also hearing voices. He had been on and off of psychiatric medication and considered himself bipolar, just as he’d been diagnosed.

Looking back at the experience now, Herold takes issue with how his thoughts and experiences were handled in 2013. After that year, Herold connected with Hill, who was involved with the Hearing Voices Network in Portland.

The Hearing Voices Network is a guiding organization and framework for thousands of support groups across the world designed for those who hear voices or have visions that others around them don’t see or hear; those experiences can include all five senses.

The groups provide a framework to empower and liberate people who have unusual experiences, and they aim to fight back against stereotypes and discrimination.

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