When someone in the family is diagnosed with schizophrenia, the entire family is affected in one way or another. It can be a devastating, scary, and uncertain time for the person dealing with the mental illness and their family to learn how to navigate. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for coping with schizophrenia, but there are some crucial ways that family members can help on a day-to-day basis to make sure those living with schizophrenia are supported and able to live their best lives.
The first and most important thing for family members of someone with schizophrenia is to be supportive and encouraging. While there may be days when it can be hard, it’s important to remember that your loved one is still the same person they’ve always been, and what they’re going through is incredibly challenging. Offer support and kindness as they navigate their diagnosis and encourage them to seek help, such as therapy and medication, and to attend mental health clinics or support groups.
Providing Family Support Day to Day
In addition to being emotionally supportive, family members can also provide practical support or help. This might include helping the person with a mental illness such as schizophrenia manage their medications and helping to ensure they have the right support systems like family support in place. This could involve arranging counseling or other therapies or even attending counseling or therapy sessions with them to provide additional guidance and emotional support.
Family members can also help with day-to-day life by assisting with self-care activities. This may include helping with staying consistent with hygiene routines like bathing and brushing their teeth, getting dressed, eating regularly, taking medication, exercising, or managing activities of daily living. While family members mustn’t take over these activities, being available to assist during difficult times when needed can make life easier for those living with schizophrenia.
Remember to Enjoy Life
One of the most beneficial things that family members can do is to encourage the person with schizophrenia to participate in meaningful and fun activities and stay engaged in life. This could include social and recreational activities, employment opportunities, volunteering, or educational programs. It’s important to remember that these activities don’t necessarily have to be grand or ambitious and can simply be activities that your loved one can enjoy, like going to the park or seeing a movie.
Support a Family Member By Being Present
Family members can also support or help more subtly by simply being present. When an individual experiences schizophrenia symptoms such as paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations, it can be beneficial for them to have a supportive family member nearby. Just simply sitting with them and providing companionship can be calming and reassuring to the person.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Finally, family members should remember to take care of themselves. Playing the role of caregiver and supporting a family member with schizophrenia can be taxing day in and day out, and caregivers need to ensure their own emotional and practical needs are taken care of, too. It can be helpful to reach out to family and friends, join a support group for schizophrenia family support, or simply take a break sometimes and let someone else take the reigns for a day.
Schizophrenia is a complex and debilitating mental illness that can have a devastating effect on the lives of affected individuals and their families. However, with the right mental health support and understanding, family members can have a hugely positive impact on the lives of those living with schizophrenia. By providing emotional support, practical help, and encouragement to engage in meaningful activities, family members can help their loved ones to lead better, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Life Adjustment Team’s Family Schizophrenia Support and Treatment
If you or someone you care about is living with schizophrenia, The Life Adjustment Team is here to help. Our team of experienced clinicians provides family and caregiver schizophrenia support in the Los Angeles area to those living with schizophrenia, their families, and their caregivers. With our Team’s extensive knowledge and training in mental health treatment, we are committed to helping those experiencing the struggles of schizophrenia and providing them with the assistance they need to find the peace and care they deserve. We offer resources and compassionate support to help individuals and families affected by schizophrenia manage their symptoms, receive the proper care and schizophrenia treatment, and live a more fulfilling life.