Skip to main content

Tips for the Family Member

Recently, I wrote about quick tips for the newly diagnosed, however, what about the family members?

If you are a relative of someone living with a diagnosis it is essential to educate yourself about the mental illness. Here are some credible websites that I personally use and recommend to others:
There are FREE support groups for family members. NAMI for example, provides these programs. Participating in a support group has many benefits. Here is an example of benefits:
  • Obtain personal referrals to resources such as treatment facilities and housing options
  • Learn from other people's experience how to cope
  • Discuss concerns with someone who has been there and who understands
If your loved one is in dire need of supervision and support do not feel bad if you need to get assistance from a hospital, independent living establishment, etc. These facilities are equipped to help your loved one stay well. It may be a good idea to get a personal referral from a support group member as to what hospital to get support.

Although the hospital stay can be hard on you and your family member living with a diagnosis there are benefits to the hospital stay. For instance, the hospital staff stabilizes your loved one through medication and/or therapy. They offer education to your loved about the mental illness. The environment is monitored if your loved one is a danger themselves.

Lastly, coming from an individual who was court-ordered to take medication, if your loved one is severely affected by their mental illness and is not functioning or is a danger to themselves or others, mandated medication compliance may need to be researched.

Get to know health care professionals to assist you in a situation where this is needed. Court-ordered medication compliance is NOT for everyone. I'll use myself as an example. When my illness got really bad, I became catatonic. I was not moving my body limbs for periods at a time. I had stopped eating, drinking, showering and speaking.

In fact, my mother thought she was going to have to take full guardianship of me because my illness was so devastating. Now, I am thankful that my family supported court-ordered medication compliance because it saved my life.

However, with BOTH medication and therapy I slowly but surely got well again to the extent that I voluntarily took my medicine as recommended by the doctor regularly and participated in support groups. DO NOT underestimate the importance of a combination of therapy, medication, and support groups- they work, for me at least.

In short, I suggest that family members get a better understanding of the illness. join a support group, do not hesitate to get support from other facilities like the hospital, and if in a severe situation research and follow through on court-ordered medication compliance. Lastly, continue to support your loved one by being there for them in whatever capacity you can take on.

These tips are only suggestions and are not to replace professional advice.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Popular posts from this blog

Religious Preoccupation

After a talk, a woman asked me if my faith contributed to my recovery because she noticed that I mentioned it throughout my speech. In addition to that, she told me that she observed people with faith as having a better outcome in their mental health recovery.

First, I came from a family with Christian values. My faith in God started to get intense during the latter years of high school, which in my opinion, is when I started having symptoms. In my experience religion plays a major role in my mental health- its delusions, its coping skills, and in my recovery. In medical terms they call my religious rituals and delusions "religious preoccupation."

Before I was diagnosed I was highly religious. In fact, I wanted to be an evangelist and to go to a Christian college. I would read my Bible for several hours a day throughout the day, listen to hymns, and meditate. Sometimes I would ignore people if they wanted my attention while I was meditating I was in such deep thought. Also, I …

How Can I Support Someone with Persecution Delusions

Recently, a reader asked how to support, or what to say to someone who has persecutory delusions and confides in them. I thought this question was profound. By investigating this question it could help so many people maintain or develop a trusting relationship with their relative, friend, or client, etc. I asked the opinion of my therapist, and she gave some pointers and asked me to remember a time when I was psychotic and what could someone have said to me to make me feel more comfortable...

When I was at my peak of psychosis everything was a sign from God- that truck making a U-turn meant go back, that taxi cab driver telling me to stay out of trouble meant he was in on it too. While I was psychotic I heard conflicting voices. When I would ask someone a question on the phone the voices would give different information. I was extremely paranoid. And almost everyone was a threat. I couldn't confide in relatives because they would tell my secrets, I couldn't trust friends becaus…

Lack of Trust: A Byproduct of My Mental Illness

In this entry, I'll share my experiences with Schizophrenia in regards to feeling lack of trust in others, paranoia, and isolation.... I remember my many episodes with Schizophrenia where I felt uneasy because of lack of trust in others. In the past, isolation was a giant bullying me around.

Sometimes my mind would take me to a place of fear, hurt, and an unsettling spirit, which started with what seemed like a strange look, or a different feeling around an individual, when in reality it was another symptom of my undiagnosed illness- paranoia. My paranoia was rampant and dictated my life prior to experiencing a crisis, which led me to jail and into forced treatment and to receive an official diagnosis of Schizophrenia in 2007.

In other words, my illness created enemies in my mind. For instance, I once believed my favorite kin was against me and I felt like she wanted me to fail, and I eventually thought she was conspiring to harm me. However, she never said anything to imply these f…