for better mental health


Explains schizophrenia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

How can I help myself?

Many people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are able to live happy and fulfilling lives, even if they continue to experience symptoms.

It can help to:

  • Try to get enough sleep. Sleeping well can make you feel calmer and more able to cope. If you feel tired, you are more likely to feel stressed or worried and find it difficult to manage your symptoms. (See our advice on sleep problems.)
  • Try to eat a balanced diet. Following a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can help your wellbeing. Eating regularly can also help avoid psychosis being brought on by changes to your blood sugar levels. (See our information on food and mood.)

Smoking and antipsychotics

Smoking can change the effects of antipsychotic drugs. If you smoke and are prescribed antipsychotics, it's particularly recommended that you try to give up.

It's best to talk to a doctor first because:

  • they can help you with giving up smoking
  • they might need to adjust your prescription

Alcohol and recreational drugs can also affect the way your medication works. (See our information on alcohol and recreational drugs.)

Too much stress can make the symptoms of schizophrenia worse and increase the chances of you becoming unwell. It could help to spend time outside in green space or try doing some exercise like walking, swimming or yoga.

You might need to cut down on the number of responsibilities you have – it could help to explore support services in your area. For more suggestions, see our information on stress.

It's important to stay involved in doing things you enjoy. They can boost your confidence and help you stay well, whether it's cooking, listening to music or doing DIY.

Some people find that doing something creative like drama, drawing or sewing can help them to express themselves and deal with difficult emotions. (See our information on arts therapies.)

"Focus on something practical [like] an allotment. It calms the mind."

Feeling connected to other people is an important part of staying well. It can help you to feel valued, confident and more able to face difficult times.

Feeling lonely or isolated could make your symptoms worse. If you don't feel you have strong connections with people or you'd like to make more, it could help to explore support services and peer support.

Peer support brings together people who have had similar experiences. Some people find this very helpful.

There are lots of ways to find peer support. You could:

If you are becoming unwell, there might be signs you could spot early on. These will be different for everyone, but they could include:

Noticing when you are becoming unwell

You might find you can learn to recognise signs that you are feeling less well. It could help to:

  • Pay attention to what triggers your symptoms. Some activities, situations or people might seem to have a particular effect.
  • Ask other people to help. You could ask someone you trust to let you know if they notice changes in your moods or behaviour.
  • Keep going to appointments. It's best to carry on going to any appointments for treatment, support or check-ups, even if you're feeling better.

If you're feeling less well you might not be able to tell people what help you want, so it could be helpful to plan ahead.

It can also help to talk to someone you trust about how you would like to be helped. (See our information on crisis services for more about planning ahead.)

For more self-care ideas, see our information on helping yourself with paranoia, living with voices and improving your mental wellbeing.

"My recovery has been gradual and in stages… No matter how bad I feel, I can now manage my worst days until I get to a better place mentally."

This information was published in February 2017. We will revise it in 2020.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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