Support for Schizophrenia

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As a friend, relative or partner, you can have a vital role in helping someone recover and reducing the likelihood of them having a relapse; though it can be difficult for you to know how.

Most people want to feel cared about, not to feel alone, and to have someone they can discuss their feelings and options with. It’s very important to avoid either blaming them or telling them ‘pull yourself together’.


Focus on feelings rather than experiences

It can be difficult for you to know how to respond when someone sees something or believes something that you don’t. Rather than confirming or denying their experience, it may help if you say something like, ‘I accept that you hear voices or see things in that way, but it’s not like that for me’. It’s usually more constructive if you can focus on how the person is feeling, rather than what they are experiencing.


Find out about the reality of schizophrenia

This could want to be actively learning about the different coping strategies which your friend or relative might find useful. You may also find it helpful to learn about other people’s experiences by reading personal stories, joining support groups or speaking to others in the same situation as you.


Ask how you and others can help

Ask the person if you they would like practical support. This might include helping them find accommodation or accessing particular services. If you are acting on their behalf, though, it’s important that you consult them and don’t take over. Alternatively, it may also be possible to find an independent advocate to help them. When the person is feeling well it’s useful to discuss how friends and family can be supportive when and if a crisis occurs. In having this conversation, it can be helpful for friends and family to state clearly what they feel they can and can’t deal with.


Help in an emergency

If you think your friend or family member may be at risk of hurting themselves or others, it may be necessary to consider a mental health assessment for them. The Nearest Relative, as defined under the Mental Health Act, can request that the person at risk be given a mental health assessment by an Approved Mental Health Professional. This assessment involves considering treatment options and deciding whether or not the person should be detained (admitted to hospital).

 

Get emotional support for yourself

It can be very shocking when someone you are close to experiences the symptoms of schizophrenia. It’s important to get support in coping with your own feelings, which you may find include anger, guilt, fear or frustration.

 

One of the recommendations that NICE has made is that families of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia should be offered psychological support or family therapy, if possible. Carers are also entitled to have their own needs for practical and emotional support assessed by Social Services as part of a carer’s assessment. A number of voluntary organisations provide help and information for carers around these topics.


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The Have I Got A Problem website is a free online resource to help people better understand any issues or concerns they may have about mental health or addiction. The website includes resources specifically focused to; general Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurities, Self-harm Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anger Management, Eating Disorders, Coping, general Addiction, Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis) Ecstasy, PCP, Mephedrone, Ketamine & Crystal Meth.

The site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.

www.haveigotaproblem.com was created and is run by 'Advising Communities’, which is a UK registered charity (Charity No. 1061055)

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