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Hearing Voices or Hallucinations

Is hearing voices unusual and when should I seek help?

Did you know that around 8% of children and young people hear voices that others don’t Many more (up to 75%) have one-off or fleeting experiences in their childhood. Most aren’t bothered by these experiences and they don’t need extra support from mental health services.

Hearing voices is not necessarily a sign of mental illness and can be related to a traumatic event such as a bereavement or family breakdown. Sometimes people’s internal thoughts can even feel and sound like voices in their head. Hearing voices doesn’t always mean they have (or will go on to develop) a mental health problem.

It is a good idea to seek help if the voices become hostile, intimidating and start to have a negative impact on their day-to-day living.

Helping someone who hears voices  

  • Accept that their experience of the voices is real. Everyone will have a unique experience of hearing voices and will think about their voices in different ways. You can help by accepting their experience as real - even if you find it hard to understand.
  • Try not to make judgments about what hearing voices means for them. Some people don't talk about their voices because they are worried their friends and family won't understand or will assume they are seriously ill.
  • Learn their triggers. Learn more about particular situations or experiences that trigger their voices.
  • Remember they are still the same person. Hearing voices doesn't change who they are.
  • Ask them what would help. Avoid making assumptions about what they find difficult. Different people want different support at different times. Sometimes the best thing to do can be to ask them what, if anything, you can do to help.
  • Reassure them that they are not alone. Lots of people who hear voices don't realise that other people do too. It can also help to reassure them that hearing voices does not necessarily mean that they are ill. There are lots of reasons why people hear voices.
  • Encourage them to talk about their experience. They may want to talk to you or to a doctor, support worker or other people who hear voices.
Get Help NowLearn More...

Get Help Now

Here are a list of services that can help with hearing voices or hallucinations. The icons below tell you the type of support available.

  • In person In person

CAMHS Head 2 Head Team – Psychosis

City and County

age Under 18

  • In person In person

Hearing Voices Network

City and County

age All Ages

  • Web chat Web chat

Voice Collective

City and County

age Under 25

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Which services can I access?

Some of the services available operate only within city or the wider county area. Pop your postcode in below to quickly check which services are available to you 

Related Topics

Here are some related mental health topics

Obsessive Thoughts

Obsessions are specific thoughts that are intense and intrusive. It can feel like your thoughts are taking over and controlling your behaviour. Compulsions are ritual behaviours that people use to try to reduce anxiety linked to intrusive thoughts.

Anxiety image

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Everyone gets anxious now and then and anxiety is actually your body giving you a message that you are not safe.

Bereavements and loss

Bereavement and Loss

When someone you care about dies or is seriously ill, it is very difficult. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, but it’s natural to have strong reactions. If an animal you love dies, this can be very upsetting too. People can feel scared, confused, numb, or out of control. You might even feel like you’ll never feel OK again. These feelings will change over time– it’s really tough, but certain things can help you cope.