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Explains schizophrenia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
If someone close to you has schizophrenia, it can be hard to know how to help – but there are lots of things you can try. You could:
Ask what help they would find useful. This might include helping with everyday things like shopping or housework, taking them to appointments or reminding them to take their medication.
"If someone turns 'round and says to you: 'It's not real,' it just makes you feel more alone than ever."
It can be hard seeing someone close to you experience schizophrenia. They might find it hard to think clearly, have problems understanding what is real, stop taking care of themselves or avoid seeing people.
Try to notice positive things too. It can help to set small, realistic goals rather than focusing on what they can't do. It's also important to remember that losing interest and motivation are part of having schizophrenia and not something the person is choosing.
When someone with schizophrenia is feeling well, it can be useful to discuss how friends and family can be supportive if or when things get more difficult. (See our information on crisis plans and advance decisions.)
While having this conversation, it's important for friends and family to think about what they feel they can and can't cope with.
"Lonely, confused, isolated, scared, prejudiced against… [In my experience] that's how family members feel."
It can be distressing when someone you are close to experiences the symptoms of schizophrenia. It's important to invest time and energy into looking after yourself too.
This information was published in February 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
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