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News | Thursday, 20th December 2018

New resources developed for children who hear voices

The advice draws on findings from The Young Voices Study

The advice draws on findings from The Young Voices Study. Artwork by the Voice Collective.

Researchers have issued new resources to help parents and young people understand the complexities of hearing voices, following rare insights gained from The Young Voices Study.

The study – one of the first of its kind in the UK - explored the experiences of young people aged 10 to 18 who hear voices, as well as the factors that influence voice-related distress within families.

Academics at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester have developed a set of resources with the Voice Collective, a UK charity that supports children and young people who hear voices, see visions, have other ‘unusual’ sensory experiences or beliefs.

Drawing on findings from the study, the organisations developed three new resources, including advice for those hearing voices from those hearing voices; a look at multiplicity - the experience of having more than one person, self or identify within the body; and a new resource to better understand taboo voices.

It is estimated that one in 12 young people persistently hear voices that are not there and results from The Young Voices Study revealed only 33 per cent of the participants had only negative or frightening voices, with 66 per cent having only positive or mixed experiences.

Dr Sarah Parry, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Voice hearing in adulthood is poorly understood which has led to a huge cultural stigma around voice hearing in childhood.

“Voices are relatively common developmental coping strategies for young people who have experienced trauma and stress, affecting around the same percentage of young people as asthma.

“If the voices worry you or are upsetting, try to talk to someone you trust. If you like having voices and visions, that's absolutely fine too. Everyone's experience is unique to them.

"Thanks to everyone who contributed their stories, ideas and advice.”

When asked what advice they would give to other young people that hear voices, one study participant said: “Don’t worry as you are not alone. You are not damaged in any way and there are people out there who want to help and support you.”

The resources include:

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