Individuals living with schizophrenia may find it important to have a support person, group or resources. Support can take many forms and may range between a significant other, family members, friends, psychiatrists, therapists, online and in-person communities, hotlines and social media. Unfortunately, some people don’t have the support system they’d like to have because of various reasons, including the people around them not understanding the condition and believing misconceptions.

A few Health Stories Project community members living with schizophrenia have shared insights into what their support system and resources look like and if they find their current circumstances ideal.

Supported by Family, Friends and Healthcare Professionals

“My dad lives with me and he and my wife know exactly what to do. My dad is my main support system. He has sat by me and wiped the sweat off my forehead on many occasions. My wife has been my best friend for 21 years and she used to write me a letter in the front of my notebook when I’d have to go to the hospital. I always found them a few days later and they helped me get through it when I’d be having an episode.” – Austin

“Having my family and loved ones pretty much educated helps. And they’re not so scared that my meds aren’t working or that I’m going to freak out or have to be hospitalized. I still hear voices here and there. Especially if my monthly shot wears off.” – Noel

“I have a best friend that I can turn to for lots of support. I also pray to God and read a lot of books.” – Anonymous

“I live in a skilled nursing facility so I at least feel somewhat safe. I find that the staff are not well-educated on mental health disorders, though so I can never fully trust them to handle me properly. Thankfully I have family who know how to help ground me and distract me when needed – and my psychiatric team is excellent.” – Robbie

“I’m really lucky I have a good family support that’s been there when things were bad. I don’t think I would of bettered my life without my family being there when situations were really ugly and of course the program which helped me learn ways to cope with this illness that nobody really knows about except people going through it. It can be scary.” – Luis

“My immediate support system is not educated enough on my illness but I am satisfied with the treatment I receive from therapists, doctors and case managers.” – Selina

Relying on Oneself

“I don’t really have much of a support system at the current moment. I try and just ride out the really bad parts by isolating myself to prevent me from damaging friendships.” – Chris

“Practicing CBT and giving myself plenty of self care helps me get through difficult episodes. Sadly I don’t have much support or understanding from the people in my life when it comes to my mental health, but I have learned to get through it ok on my own.” – Elizabeth

“My support is not at all that I would want it to be. They don’t understand what I’m going through and my family doesn’t either. As far as controlling it, I have built a pretty good system and understanding of when I will have another issue so I put myself alone all day if I have to.” – Anonymous

“I don’t really have a support system due to family and friends distance themselves from me after I disclosed my diagnosis. For me it’s especially hard.” – Bernard

“My situation is far far from ideal. My boyfriend doesn’t want to hear about it or put a plan in place when my mind is clear.” – Anonymous

“I don’t have a support system. My family is ashamed to be seen in public with me, even though I no longer have outbursts.” – Whitney

You are NOT Alone

Whether you have your ideal support system or not, you are NOT alone. Individuals living with or without schizophrenia can receive immediate help and support from the following organizations: