Tipperary woman features in television programme on schizophrenia

Tipperary woman features in television programme on schizophrenia

Rita Bourke in new TV programme on schizophrenia.

A Clonmel woman is featured in a television documentary tracking the daily lives, struggles and triumphs of some young Irish people living with schizophrenia.

Rita Bourke appears in 'Schizophrenia: The Voices in My Head', which will be shown on RTE 2 at 10pm next Tuesday night, September 19th.

For the first time on Irish television these young people will speak openly about what it’s like to live with such a severe mental health disorder, and their struggle with delusional thoughts and the internal voices that are so associated with schizophrenia.

34 year-old Rita Bourke is from Powerstown.

Daughter of Evelyn Bourke, she was educated at the Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel and Villers Secondary School in Limerick.

Rita trained as a general nurse in UCD in Dublin in 2007 and worked in St Vincent's University Hospital.

From 2008 to 2010 she worked as a registered nurse in Sydney, Australia.

She now works as a personal assistant to people in their homes in Clonmel and is actively involved in several community events in the town including Festival Cluain Meala, the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, Clonmel Dance Festival (which will be featured in the programme) and the South Tipperary Positive Mental Health Festival.

She is also an ambassador for See Change, an alliance of organisations working together through the National Stigma Reduction Partnership to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems. 

RTE's promo for next week's programme says "even though Irish people are becoming much more willing to talk about mental health, so far those conversations have been around depression and anxiety. 

“Other conditions are still pretty much taboo, in particular schizophrenia. 

"In ‘Schizophrenia: The Voices in My Head’ we step inside the worlds of young people who are living with the condition.

​"​They struggle socially and are prone to anxiety and depression. But the extraordinary thing is how they are managing – to whatever extent – to control the condition rather than let it control them. We will see these young people at their happiest and darkest moments. 

"​As one put it – ‘Thirty years ago I would have been locked up, medicated up to my eyeballs and abandoned in some institution, but that is changing’​"​.