Writing a series about getting help for someone you care for who might be struggling with schizophrenia is difficult. A disclaimer is in order. The advice given here is not based on any scientific research. The views expressed in this series are based exclusively on my experiences and insights. If someone you know seems to be experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, please consult a qualified mental health professional (QMHP) – psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or psychiatrist. Assuming there is no threat of immediate danger to your loved one or anyone else, consulting with a QMHP should be your first move. If you don’t trust the advice of a particular mental health professional, seek a second opinion.
This series does not include getting help for a loved one who is an immediate danger to himself or others. I may devote a post or two to that topic; however, this series will assume that your loved one is not an immediate danger to anyone and is not eligible for involuntary hospitalization. Here are some steps involved in helping someone accept help:
- Ensure the physical safety and well-being of the person and those in the immediate environment.
- Provide an environment that is conducive to your loved one accepting help.
- Approach the troubled person with the option of seeking help. Be prepared for multiple rejections.
- Follow through by helping your loved one once he or she decides that professional help is a viable option for them.
Getting help for someone who has schizophrenia rarely follows a simple path. Like many things, the path to recovery is often met with alternate routes, detours, and dead ends (e.g., treatment options that simply don’t work for the individual). My hope is that this series will be beneficial and insightful and that it will help someone who needs it.