For friends & family

Provides advice and tips for friends and family, dealing with someone experiencing schizophrenia.

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If a loved one is dealing with schizophrenia, finding the best way to support them can be challenging, yet there are many ways you can help. Read on to find out some potentially helpful tips to help your friend or family member.

Prepare for challenging periods

When your friend or family member is in good health, it’s useful to talk about how you can assist if a crisis arises or they’re beginning to experience another episode.

You might:

  • Talk about which signs you should watch for.
  • Suggest they create a crisis plan.
  • Learn about their triggers and plan coping strategies together.

This approach can aid in preventing crises or managing them more effectively in the future where feasible. During these discussions, consider your own limits and commit to offering only the support you feel capable of providing. Remember, your well-being is equally important.

Focus on understanding emotions rather than specific events

When someone sees or believes something that you don’t, you might not know what to say. But remember, what they’re going through feels very real to them.

It helps to focus on how they’re feeling instead of whether it’s true or not. Instead of saying they’re wrong, you could say, “That sounds really scary. Do you have someone to talk to about it?” This shows you care about their feelings.

Seek additional information about schizophrenia

Learning about the symptoms they might face and useful coping strategies could be beneficial. You might find it helpful to read personal accounts or talk to others in similar circumstances.

If you’re looking after someone with schizophrenia, you should be able to discuss their situation with their doctor, care team, or other healthcare professionals involved in their treatment. Even if the person you care for prefers not to have their medical details shared, you should still be able to seek advice and information. The professionals should also consider your needs as a carer.

It might be useful to think about specific questions you want to ask. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offers a list of important questions for family members and carers to ask doctors regarding schizophrenia.

Ask about ways you and others can offer support

Find out what support they’d find helpful. This could involve lending a hand with day-to-day tasks such as doing the shopping or tidying up, taking them to their appointments, or reminding them to take their medication if they’re having trouble remembering it by themselves.

Individuals with schizophrenia might not know they’re unwell until they receive treatment. Convincing someone to visit a doctor can be challenging if they’re reluctant or don’t believe there’s an issue.

Recognise and acknowledge positive aspects

Seeing a loved one deal with schizophrenia can be challenging. They may struggle to think clearly, have difficulty understanding reality, neglect their personal care, or avoid social interactions.

However, it’s beneficial to recognise positive aspects as well. Setting small, achievable goals rather than concentrating on their limitations can be helpful. It’s also crucial to understand that a lack of interest and motivation are symptoms of schizophrenia, not choices made by the individual.

Ensure you’re taking care of your own well-being

It can be upsetting to see someone close to you showing symptoms of schizophrenia. Remember, it’s also vital to take care of yourself.

Seeking support for managing your emotions might be beneficial. This could be through peer support, where you can discuss your experiences with others in similar situations, or through talking therapies and counselling. Local Mind organisations or carers’ groups like Carers UK may offer this kind of support.

Get support

Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

Counselling Private Counselling