"I hear voices in my head."

I definitely feel empathy for those who deal with this serious illness.
— student participant
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In another important workshop to expose and sensitize high school students to real mental health issues, Chris Peters Psych 101 class at Cajon High School participated in an activity facilitated by Sue Abito, Volunteer Services Coordinator at the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health. The Hearing Voices activity has one student place a brown paper bag over their head while four more students simultaneously deliver scripted messages into their ear, over the bag. The exercise is meant to simulate the experience of those with schizophrenia.  The student reaction to this exercise was interesting. Some of the students who were wearing the bags on their heads found it pretty tough to answer basic questions because the "voices" were so distracting. Others found it so annoying that they developed immediate empathy for those who live with voices every day. One student was observed editing the scripted message because they didn't want to say unkind things in someones ear. Overall it was a very eye-opening experience for these young minds and brought home some of the realities of mental health illness in a tangible way. 

This activity made me feel terrible, even after the activity was over I felt like I was still hearing voices and it was annoying. Now I understand how horrible this feels to hear voices, and this was only an activity. I can only imagine what it is in real life.
— student participant