POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 75 Schizophrenia continued Schizophrenia can leave people feeling very isolated and alone.At times, many people who experience schizophrenia feel uncomfortable around others. But many also worry about what others will think of them.The right relationships can be supportive and healing.Your support team can help you connect with support groups. How can I help a loved one? Supporting a loved one can be hard. It can be difficult to understand what a loved one is experiencing, and their behaviour may be confusing at times. Many people worry about their loved one’s future. The good news is that schizophrenia is treatable - and love and support can go a long way. Here are some tips for helping a loved one: o Learn more about schizophrenia so you have a better idea of what to expect and how you can help. o Schizophrenia can have a big impact on people’s ability to concentrate and make sense of information. Loved ones may not react to things in ways you expect or may struggle with tasks that seem simple to you. It’s okay to feel frustrated, but it isn’t anyone’s fault. o If a loved one has trouble following conversations, choose a quiet space and speaking calmly and clearly. o It’s best to avoid arguing with delusions or hallucinations.A more helpful strategy is to focus on the feelings that delusions or hallucinations bring up. o Ask your loved one how you can help.This may be a simple as helping with day-to-day tasks. o Talk about dealing with emergencies when your loved one is feeling well and decide how you can contribute.Write it down in a crisis plan and share it with your care team.This is also a good time to talk about behaviours you aren’t willing to deal with. o Learn more about support services for care providers through your loved one’s care team, provincial or territorial health services, or community organizations. o Depending on the barriers that your loved one experiences, planning for the future with tools like a Registered Disability Savings Plan can bring peace of mind. o Set your own boundaries, and seek support for yourself when you need it. Think about joining a support group for loved ones and seeking counselling for the entire family. NEED HELP? Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness. One of the biggest myths around the illness is that it isn’t treatable. Contact the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team [MHMCT] at 1-902-429-8167 or Toll Free 1-888-429-8167