Basilia Marichal

lives in La Esperanza.

Physically and emotionally.

This is the name of the town where she lives in Tenerife and also her emotion, in capital letters, which gives her strength every day, especially since five years ago, when her youngest son, then 21 years old, was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

'Lita' speaks with warmth and contagious joy.

She only breaks her voice in the phone conversation when she remembers the moment when the disease broke out and caused a

"brutal change"

in her life.

This "sinvivir" began after a trip with a lot of emotional tension.

Then they began to observe in him attitudes and thoughts that "did not fit", most of them mystical.

He believed that "God appeared to him at night" and that his "heart had been broken in half"

Through La Esperanza runs the road that leads to Teide.

On that path of ascent, the mist is left behind little by little until a sea of ​​clouds appears that caresses the traveler's gaze and the sun shines again.

With the support of her eldest son, 'Lita' was able to move forward and clear those clouds of anguish and confusion, seeking the necessary help to understand.

In Spain, more than 150 associations weave this support network for relatives and people affected by mental illness.

She "began to breathe" when she went to AFES Salud Mental.

In this association they received information about the disorder and psychological care that they did not find in public health.

"It is not true that everything is solved with the drug. There are no resources for families. We need to feel supported and that we are not alone.

It was difficult for us to understand and accept that his life project had to change after the diagnosis of schizophrenia

Victoria Aguilar, president of ASIEM.

In this process it is crucial to be able to share your doubts and fears, as well as your needs, with other people who have lived through the same experience.

Mutual Help Groups


that space for listening and therapeutic understanding.

"At first I saw everything dark, with no way out, but little by little with the support of my colleagues we were seeing clarity, we learned to share and listen to positive things. You begin to see life from another point of view," says 'Lita' with relief on the associative movement of which it is a part in Tenerife.

His son still does not accept his illness,

"he revolts at the word schizophrenia"

and wonders "why his life stopped five years ago".

Despite still not fully assimilating his situation, he does take medication and go to psychotherapy to deal with his pain.

She trusts that she will understand him little by little.

Matter of "maturity".

And trustworthy.

Hers in him is full.

"My mission and that of my family is to help, motivate him always and at all times.

I would tell a family member of a person who receives this diagnosis not to give up, to fight, to give them love, to seek advice, to be positive, that there may be changes.

You must not lose patience, faith or hope", he asks with the strength of someone who feels every word he pronounces. He did not always have this "strength", he admits. At first, desperation for not understanding his delusions led him to go to him in a way "that was not appropriate", with "screaming and losing his temper", to get him out of that incomprehensible reality for her. He did not achieve anything and he suffered a lot. "I cried because I was not understanding it", he admits. Now with just one look knows what he needs and many times, most of the time, he merges into a hug with his mother to shake off some torment.


I have managed to get things going by speaking to him in the right tone

. If he is in a moment of crisis, that is when he needs the most attention from you. To gain his trust, the first thing I do is go from home with him to the place he likes the most. In his case, the church is the place where he relaxes. Then we walk, we go to have a drink...".

'Lita' thus manages to reduce her son's agitation without questioning those ideas that torment him: "We talk about everything but never against his delusions. I always wonder how to help him with those ideas without discussing them and serve as support and comfort ".

'Lita' smiles on a recent family trip to La Gomera. CREDIT PHOTO

He tells her everything, even when desperation makes him think of taking his own life.

And she "acts" to give him reasons to cling to her.

Throughout these five years, she has had

two admissions

and 'Lita' has stood up so that she does not suffer a relapse that takes her to the hospital: "This child comes out whatever it is."

And that 'whatever' includes unconditional doses of patience, perseverance and professional support.

I wonder how to help him with his delusions without discussing them and be supportive and comforting.

Basilia 'Lita' Marichal

A serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia not only marks the present of a person by changing their inner world and their relationship with the environment, but also their future.

The medication and the impact of the disease can reduce some of their abilities, not their intelligence, and force them to rethink their life as they had conceived it.

"You have to motivate them because they alone are not going to do it,

it is difficult for them to start but that is where we have to be, that they learn the way and awaken small illusions in them.

She always used the phrase 'you can'.

You have to have full confidence and little by little you will see the results", he affirms with full conviction. He "does not throw in the towel". This same year he enrolled in a cooking school although he finally had to drop out due to the excessive stress that "The time will come," his mother confidently assures him, the same mother who encouraged him to get his driver's license and enjoy greater autonomy.

mental health

Fight the stigma.

Another look at schizophrenia: "The diagnosis is the beginning of a story of overcoming"

  • Drafting: YAIZA PERERAMadrid

Another look at schizophrenia: "The diagnosis is the beginning of a story of overcoming"

How psychotherapy helps.

'Voices' that reveal intense pain, delusions that make sense...

  • Drafting: YAIZA PERERAMadrid

'Voices' that reveal intense pain, delusions that make sense...

Alejandro Llopis

also drives.

It may seem like a trivial fact, but for a person with schizophrenia, driving a car is like "having a spaceship".

Óscar Gallart

explains it to us,

praising the merit of his colleague at ASIEM.

Both have paranoid schizophrenia and collaborate in this association by reaching out to other people who, like them, must face life with a serious mental illness.

Alejandro acts as secretary.

He "debuted" at the age of 28, at a time of great stress in which he worked in a bank, was in a game and had a very active social life.

At that time, he admits, he "flirted" with


and for three years, without knowing why, he barely fell asleep.

"I hit the roof. I hadn't slept for a week and I had to take sick leave

. They referred me to a psychiatrist," he explains during a video call.

He rejected that medical conclusion because it was too "severe" for what he considered to be an insomnia problem.

He took the medication "two or three weeks" but ended up leaving it: "I slept but my personality also changed."

He then began to develop "positive symptoms" (delusions and hallucinations) and after a year he had an "uncontrolled outbreak" and ended up hospitalized.

That relapse made him aware, accept his illness and the need to respect the treatment.

"The side effects are strong for the body and the mind but I will never say that you have to stop the medication,

Óscar often insists on his task of accompanying other people who have suffered an episode of psychosis.

The process to stop medication is to take the medication"

Óscar Gallart, diagnosed with schizophrenia, assists and guides other people in mental health units.

Victoria Aguilar chairs ASIEM.

Her son Jorge had a psychotic break when he was 15 years old after he was wrongly diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed amphetamines as part of the treatment.

She had a hard time "understanding" what was happening but above all accepting that

"her life project had to change":

he had lost capacities and now he must find others to lead an autonomous life.

Jorge's case, he acknowledges, Victoria was "very hard".

In their eagerness to get him ahead, her parents put a lot of pressure on them so that she would continue studying, but he couldn't.

The psychotic break he had suffered had affected him cognitively and he could not memorize or concentrate.

The medication helped control his delusions or hallucinations but he had to deal with the side effects.

In the recovery process, he goes through a period of mourning in which it may be necessary to give up the idea of ​​what they expected for his life and draw another horizon.

Jorge does it with passion in his graffiti.

He is

an urban artist and that "makes him happy".

He projects on his murals his

"yearnings" for him, his

inside world.

The works that he signs, says his mother proudly, are highly appreciated and respected.

That explosive creativity, that sensitivity, also make him unique.

"It's not all so bad, it's bad when you suffer," she says.

One of the graffiti drawn by Jorge on a hairdresser's blind in Valencia.

One of the biggest concerns for parents of someone with schizophrenia is what will become of him or her when they die.

'Lita' is aware of this and despite the fact that she knows that her two brothers would never leave her alone, she speaks clearly with him so that he is aware that she will not always be by his side and gives him tools so that when that time comes he will not give up, be

"responsible", "strong" and know what "your path" is

to have "a normal life and be happy".

On this road to recovery and autonomy, employment is a key factor and as far as this group is concerned, the data does not offer them too many opportunities.

"83% are unemployed. It is the worst employment rate of all functional diversity," laments Eduardo, a member of ASIEM, who emphasizes the need to "open new horizons of labor insertion and training so that they recover their project life with economic independence".

Where to find help.





Madrid Union of Associations for Mental Health

Phone: 91 513 02 43 / Fax: 91 371 72 35

FEMASAM (Community of Madrid)

Phone: 91 472 98 14


Association of Family and Friends of the Mentally Ill

Tel: 91 416 84 75


Health and Mutual Aid Association (ASAM)

Phone: 91 717 97 29


Health and Life Alternatives Association (ASAV)

Phone: 696 42 86 87


Association for the Social Integration of the Mentally Ill

Phone: 91 883 29 70


Association for Help Health, Hope and Life (APASEV)

Phone: 91 610 07 93


Association in Struggle for Mental Health and Social Changes (ALUSAMEN)

Phone: 91 477 18 66


Phone: 91 355 36 08


Tel: 650 96 98 97


Association of users of Mental Health Centers, Family and Associates (MENS SANA)

Tel: 699 84 35 83 // 91 405 58 67


FEAFES Andalusia

Tel: 954 23 87 81


Association of relatives and relatives with mental illness

Tel: 950 48 94 90


Association of relatives of the mentally ill (AFEMEN)

Tel: 956 33 30 68


Association of relatives and people with mental illness of Córdoba (ASAENEC)

Phone: 957 42 07 41


Association of relatives and mental patients of the Valley of the Pedroches (AFEMVAP)

Phone: 957 77 11 74


Tel: 957 16 24 86


Granada Association of relatives and people with mental illness (AGRAFEM)

Phone: 958 27 91 55


Provincial Association of relatives and mental patients (APAEM)

Tel: 953 67 34 57


Association of relatives with patients with schizophrenia

Tel: 952 21 77 79


Association of relatives and people with mental illness of the Costa del Sol (AFESOL)

Phone: 952 44 06 64


Association of relatives of the mentally ill from Al Axarquia

Phone: 952 50 01 63


Association of relatives and people with severe mental illness (ASAENES)

Phone: 954 93 25 84


Association of Ayamonte and the Western Coast of Huelva with Mental Illness (ADACEM)

Phone: 959 32 05 14


MALLOW Association

Tel: 957 54 36 76


Association of relatives and relatives of people with mental illness (FEAFES HUELVA)

Tel: 959 24 74 10



Phone: (976) 53 24 99

Aragonese Association for Mental Health (ASAPME ZARAGOZA)

Phone: 976 53 24 99


Illusion for the future.

Tel: 976 40 21 57


FEAFES Canarias

Tel: 928 31 33 98

Asociación Tinerfeña en lucha salud mental (ATELSAM)

Tel: 922 20 52 15

Asociación canaria de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental (AFES)

Tel: 922 63 08 56

Asociación Majorera por la salud mental (ASOMASAMEN)

Tel: 626 50 31 19

Agrupación para la defensa del paciente psíquico "EL CRIBO"

Tel: 928 80 45 45

Asociación de familias y personas con problemas de salud mental de La Palma (AFEM- LA PALMA)

Tel: 922 46 43 75

Asociación de familias y usuarios para el apoyo de personas con enfermedad mental (AFAES)

Tel: 928 31 33 98


Asociación Cántabra pro salud mental (ASCASAM)

Tel: 942 36 41 15


FEAFES Castilla y León

Tel: 983 30 15 09

Asociación Segoviana de personas con enfermedad mental, familiares y amigos "AMANECER-FEAFES"

Tel: 921 43 16 08


Federació Salut Mental Catalunya (Cataluña-Catalunya)

Tel: 93 272 14 51

Associació de familiars de Malalts Mentals de Barcelona Nord

Tel: 93 383 58 39

Associació Salut Mental La Noguera (ASM LA NOGUERA)

Tel: 97 34 49 488


Associació Catalana de Familiars i Malalts desquizofrenia

Tel: 93 217 46 61

Associació de Familiars de malalts mentals de Catalunya (AFAMMCA)

Tel: 93 435 17 12

Associació de Familiars de Malalts Mentals de Nou Barris

Tel: 654 15 43 82

Aixec Societat Cooperativa Catalana Limitada (Aixec S.C.C.L)

Tel: 685 87 94 19

Associació Per a la Rehabilitació de les persones con Malaltia Mental (AREP)

Tel: 93 352 13 39

Fundació Privada Vía-Guasp per a la tutela del Malalt Mental (FUNDACIÓ VÍA GUASP)

Tel: 93 498 80 31

Associació de Familiars i amics de persones afectades de malaltia mental (RESSORGIR)

Tel: 93 272 50 55

Salut Mental. Associació de Familiarsi Amics Berguedá. (ASFAM)

Tel: 630 18 98 41


Tel: 659 96 10 16


Tel: 679 67 24 52


Tel: 972 20 04 63


Tel: 93 540 43 38

Associació per la Salut Mental Pla dUrgell (ASMPU)

Tel: 97 360 60 76

Associació de Familiars de Malalts Mentals Cemoriba (CEMORIBA)

Tel: 618 75 50 47

Associació de Families amb Malalts Mentals de les comarques de Tarragona (AURORA)

Tel: 97 752 02 05

Associació Ment i Salut la Muralla (AMSLM)

Tel: 97 722 76 56


Tel: 97 331 22 21

Associació de Familiars de malalts mentals de Terrasa (ASFAMMT)

Tel: 93 780 93 29

Porta Oberta Personas Amb Malaltia Mental i Familiars

Tel: 977 60 96 75


Associació per a la cura del cuidador i familiar en salut mental

Tel: 654 169 338



Asociación Ceutí de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental (ACEFEP).

Tel: 956 52 53 18


ANASAPS (Comunidad Foral de Navarra)

Tel: 948 24 86 30


FEAFES Comunidad Valenciana-Comunitat Valenciana

Tel: 96 353 50 65


Inserción laboral para Personas con Enfermedad Mental

Familiares Asociados de Enfermos Mentales (FADEM)

Tel: 692 11 15 55

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental del Altó Vinalopó (AFEPVI)

Tel: 965 81 74 38

Asociación de ayuda a personas con enfermedad mental de la Comunidad Valenciana (ACOVA)

Tel: 963 81 28 60

Entidad: Asociación de La Safor de Ayuda a Enfermos Mentales (ASAEM)

Tel: 962 87 08 23

Asociación de familiares y allegados de la Ribera Alta para los derechos del enfermo mental (AFARADEM)

Tel: 639 50 28 78

Asociación de familiares de enfermos mentales lAlt Maestrat (AFEM LALT MAESTRAT)

Tel: 964 42 82 59

Asociación para la integración de enfermos mentales de Alicante (AIEM)

Tel: 966 59 29 51

Associació damics de la Marina Alta dajuda als malalts mentals (AMADEM)

Tel: 966 46 91 20

Asociación Familiares de Enfermos Mentales del Alto Palancia

Tel: 620 735 489


FEAFES Extremadura

Tel: 924 80 50 77

Asociación para la integración de las personas con enfermedad mental (PROINES)

Tel: 924 80 50 77

Asociación de personas con enfermedad mental para la integración social (FEAFES AEMIS)

Tel: 924 24 14 17


FEAFES Galicia

Tel: 981 55 43 95

Asociación "Fonte da Virxe" de familiares e amigos dos enfermos mentais de Galicia (FONTE DA VIRXE)

Tel: 981 88 42 39

Asociación de axuda a enfermos psíquicos Alba (ALBA)

Tel: 986 85 93 68

Asociación de axuda ó enfermo mental Avelaiña (AVELAIÑA)

Tel: 986 61 00 21

Asociación pro saude mental LAR (LAR)

Tel: 986 51 06 99

Asociación de axuda ó enfermo psíquico LENDA (LENDA)

Tel: 986 40 42 00

Asociación Monfortina de apoio ós enfermos mentais (ALBORES)

Tel: 982 40 49 68

Asociación de axuda ó enfermo mental A MARIÑA (A MARIÑA)

Tel: 982 58 16 20

Asociación de familiares e enfermos mentais MOREA (MOREA)

Tel: 988 23 74 54


Tel: 650 27 08 24


FEBAFEM (Islas Baleares-Illes Balears)

Tel: 971 39 26 94

Asociación de Familiares de enfermos mentales de Menorca (AFEM)

Tel: 639 67 69 01

Asociación de usuarios salud mental de Menorca (SOLIVERA)

Tel: 971 35 77 50

Associació Estel de Llevant

Tel: 971 55 98 91

Asociación para el desarrollo e integración de personas con esquizofrenía (ADIPE)

Tel: 971 72 78 42


Asociación Riojana de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental (FEAFES-ARFES PRO SALUD MENTAL)

tel: 941 23 62 33


FEDEAFES (País Vasco-Euskadi)

Tel: 94 406 94 30

Asociación Ayalesa de Familiares y Personas con enfermedad mental (ASASAM)

Tel: 94 403 46 90

Asociación Guipuzkoana de Familiares y Enfermos Psíquicos (AGIFES)

Tel: 943 47 43 37


Asociación Vizcaínas de Familiares y Personas con Enfermedad Mental

Tel: 94 445 62 56


Asociación Alavesa de Familiares y Personas con Enfermedad Mental (ASAFES)

Tel: 945 28 86 48



Tel: 985 11 51 42


FEAFES Región de Murcia

Tel: 968 23 29 19

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental

Tel: 968 23 26 50

Asociación para la integración comunitaria de enfermos psíquicos de Cartagena y Comarca (APICES)

Tel: 968 16 92 15

Asociación de familiares y enfermos mentales de Lorca

Tel: 968 47 11 80

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental del Noroeste (AFEMNOR)

Tel: 968 70 09 66

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental de Cieza y Comarca (AFEMCE)

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental de Molina (AFESMO)

Tel: 968 64 53 87

Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental de Yecla (AFEMY)

Tel: 968 79 15 51


Asociación de familiares y personas con enfermedad mental de Águilas y Comarca (AFEMAC)

Tel: 968 41 32

Óscar participa en un proyecto pionero en la Comunidad Valenciana donde personas con trastornos graves trabajan asistiendo y orientando a otros pacientes en las unidades de salud mental. Esta iniciativa logra un doble objetivo, ofrecer apoyo de alguien que sufre la misma experiencia e integrar en el ámbito laboral a miembros de un colectivo con altas tasas de desempleo. Él perdió "todas sus habilidades sociales" hace 15 años cuando la esquizofrenia irrumpió en su vida. Hoy sigue "peleando por conseguir muchos logros" y muestra su orgullo por el trabajo que ejerce y la posibilidad de ir "abriendo camino".

Este proyecto de apoyo "entre iguales" fue implantado en mayo de 2019 en tres unidades de salud mental públicas valencianas (Malvarrosa, Pere Bonfil y Fuente de San Luis). En la actualidad cuenta con siete técnicos en la plantilla de ASIEM y ha ofrecido ya asistencia a más de 3.000 personas y la puesta en marcha y supervisión de cuatro grupos de ayuda mutua (GAM).

"Hay atención sanitaria pero es una atención que no le da esperanza al paciente"

Alejandro Llopis, diagnosticado con esquizofrenia. Ejerce como secretario en ASIEM.

Que las personas con un trastorno de salud mental tengan una vida plena también pasa por un cambio social que erradique el estigma y el rechazo. El hijo de 'Lita' pasó de tener "muchísimos amigos" a solo dos que le escuchan y le acompañan. "Aun queda que aprender, hay gente que lo entiende pero otra que se asusta. Incluso lo ven como un incapacitado. Es una enfermedad marcada por el desconocimiento", asegura pidiendo menos prejuicios, más cariño y empatía. Jorge, el hijo de Victoria, ha tenido bastantes parejas. Al conocer a alguien él siempre le explica que tiene esquizofrenia. "Muchas salen asustadas", lamenta su madre. Y él, al que el "enamoramiento le llega muy fuerte, se tira semanas deprimido".

Según un estudio realizado por la Red de Investigación INDIGO, dedicada a promocionar la salud mental y a reducir el estigma, el 90% de las personas con esquizofrenia ha experimentado discriminación y el 72% manifiestan la necesidad de ocultar su diagnóstico.

'Lita' habla con la sabiduría y el corazón de la gente humilde. "La esperanza es mi vivir y eso es lo que me mantiene, a mí me lo dijo un sabio que después de un tiempo otro viene", recuerda que le decía su abuela. Y de esperanza habla también Alejandro. "Tenemos sanidad pública, estamos atendidos y con recursos sociales, pensiones. Hay atención pero es una atención que no le da esperanza al paciente


Psychiatry has assumed that it cannot cure mental illness and conveys the idea that it has to contain eccentricities.

The asylums were closed with the law of 1986, but what has been done is to create many small asylums that are residences and for those who are not in them, create many small pharmacological asylums," he argues. For him, the panorama for people with problems serious mental health is currently "bleak".

Alexander Llopis.

Los expertos de INDIGO mantienen que casi el 50% las personas ingresadas en los hospitales psiquiátricos padecen esquizofrenia y que solo el 31,3% de las personas que padecen psicosis reciben atención de salud mental especializada. Alejandro también da cifras bastante sombrías: "La mitad de esas personas está en residencias, es muy fácil acabar ahí. Mientras la familia está, te sostiene pero luego existen verdaderos casos de cronificación y se oscurece el entorno y la vida". Eduardo lamenta como él la escasa posibilidad de "recuperación" que ofrecen a día de hoy en estos centros y aboga por que se impulsen las viviendas tuteladas que garanticen su autonomía y libertad sin depender de las familias.

"Ese sentimiento de perder la voz es terrible. Cuando una persona está mal se le dice, decido yo porque tú estás mal, pero no todo el tiempo está con delirios y alucinaciones y tiene voz y voto. Hay que dejarle hacer y apoyarle en las decisiones que ha tomado, conseguir que estén integrados y recuperen una vida con proyectos", subraya Victoria.

Alejandro es economista. Trató de prepararse unas oposiciones y buscar empleo pero ha decidido renunciar y no volver a trabajar. Le concedieron la discapacidad absoluta, tiene una "buena pensión" y dedica su tiempo a ayudar a su madre, a la asociación Asiem y participa con frecuencia en eventos científicos y de salud mental. "No soy una persona con una historia de éxito porque no estoy socialmente dentro de los cánones pero dentro de lo que es el colectivo tengo una vida muy envidiable", asegura. En su proceso fue clave el darse cuenta de que la "terapia está fuera del sistema, en la sociedad", en participar en ella, realizar actividades y hablar "más que de inclusión, de recuperación de habilidades". Y recomienda encarecidamente el libro de Marcos Obregón

Against diagnosis.

Dismantling mental illness

as an example of the courage of someone who looks forward after having put the chaos in order.

Alejandro asks those who suffer from a serious mental illness

not to isolate themselves and create links with their community


That they practice "social activism", but before that and above all, that they "take their diagnosis seriously" because "they can save time and a lot of quality of life", that they "try to reflect on what it means and try to redirect that end. Don't settle for being a second-class citizen".

Conforms to The Trust Project criteria

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