Schizophrenia doesn’t make ‘fake interpreter’ dangerous – psychologist

2013-12-15 06:00

Most people with schizophrenia are neither violent nor a danger to others, says Dr Lisa Brown a Johannesburg-based psychologist.

Brown was commenting on media coverage of Thamsanqa Jantjie, the “fake” sign language interpreter who said he had suffered a schizophrenic episode while interpreting at the official memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.

He also admitted that he was taking medication to keep his mental condition under control.

http://youtu.be/BJlttIL2PSs

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts and thinks. Some people who suffer from this condition see or hear things that don’t exist while others believe that there are people who want to harm them.

Some reports have suggested that he could have attacked world leaders like US President Barack Obama and others who were metres away from him.

But, Brown said while she could not comment on Jantjie’s capabilities as a sign language interpreter it was careless and irresponsible of the media to suggest that the man posed a threat to world leaders who shared a stage with him.

She explained: “Most people with schizophrenia are neither violent nor a danger to others.

“It is even better if the person is taking treatment because that means the condition is under control,” Brown said.

Dr Francesca Chewin shared similar sentiments saying: “It’s tragic how the media has been reporting on this man’s mental health.

“Many reports painted schizophrenia as a terrible disease where those who suffer from it are a danger to others. In actual fact people who suffer from schizophrenia and are on medication are generally not a danger to others.

“The fact that Jantjie is in the position he is today sounds like he is stable even though I cannot be sure of that because I am not his doctor,” she said.

However, she noted that Jantjie’s claim that he saw angels during his interpretation could be an indication that he suffers from a different mental illness.

Chewin explained: “Visual hallucination tends not to be common in schizophrenia. He might be suffering from another mental condition as well.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.