People who hear voices, their families and mental health professionals will benefit from a new information and support website based on research by Durham University.
Understanding Voices is the work of our Hearing the Voice project and will provide accessible information and resources to improve the lives of people who hear voices and to increase awareness of voice-hearing.
Up to one in 10 people in the UK will hear voices no-one else can and as many as one in 50 hear voices on a regular basis.
Voice-hearers can be people who have been diagnosed with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis or obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as those who have never received or needed psychiatric support.
Voice-hearing is also something people experience over a specific period, for example after a bereavement or treatment in intensive care.
Sources of support
Understanding Voices features personal experiences of voice-hearing, information on therapies, free research articles and sources of support.
One of the main aims of the new website is to share and celebrate the knowledge of voice-hearers, who have been involved in the development of the website every step of the way.
Rachel Waddingham, Chair of the Hearing Voices Network (England) and a member of the Understanding Voices Editorial Board, said: “When I was first told the people I could hear talking about me were hallucinations the very foundations of my reality shook.
“I didn’t know what to think, what to believe or how to move forwards.
“What took me years to find, by luck and the kindness of others, is contained in this single website. It’s a travel guide, opening up different pathways and ideas that can help people find solace, connection and inspiration.”
Research into voice-hearing
Our previous research into voice-hearing has found that people who hear voices can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds.
We’ve also found that hearing voices and the way many of us talk to ourselves inside our heads may be more closely linked than we previously thought.