Schizophrenia Support Groups

No one person or family can effectively deal with schizophrenia on their own. To have any kind of success or to keep from letting schizophrenia ruin a loved one’s life or his/her family, support is absolutely necessary.

The devastation brought about by a diagnosis of schizophrenia not only affects the person who has the mental illness. Each person diagnosed is a loved one of someone, be it a spouse, parent, friend, or sibling. With the diagnosis comes the reality to others that the person will never be the same. Since the illness typically starts with a major psychotic break, the onset is usually frightening and it can become apparent in an instant that all of one’s dreams and hopes for that loved one are gone.

A support group can play a significant role in helping both family and friends accept the fact that this major mental illness is chronic and will always be a part of their loved one’s life. Acceptance of lost opportunities and dreams can also be found by joining a support group with other families affected by schizophrenia. Since schizophrenics have a difficult time showing emotion or communicating in a logical way, loved ones may have to come to terms with losing what was once a vibrant loving soul. While that soul is still there, not being to reach or see it can be devastating. Dealing with the emotional side of this illness can benefit family members by showing them they are not alone in this new but unpredictable journey.

Support groups can be a call to action and not just a forum when it comes to dealing with the emotional aspects of schizophrenia on someone you love. A proper support group also provides empowerment. Family and friends can find educational materials and tools to help them help the person who is ill. They can learn how to best assist the patient in adapting to his/her situation and finding ways to be an integral and functional person in society.

Support groups can also teach ways to help minimize the chances of relapse and decrease the recurrence or severity of psychotic episodes. Networking with other family and friends can increase one’s knowledge base and help one find locate needed resources. Support groups often work to stay current on medical and scientific advances concerning schizophrenia.

Following are sources to help with finding local support groups:

  • The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (often referred to as NAMI), (800) 950-NAMI
  • National Mental Health Association 1
  • Schizophrenia Support Meetup Groups 2

Many hospitals which have excellent mental health services can provide information on support groups and resources. With a mental illness such as schizophrenia, support for the individual and those who love him/her is a must if s/he is to ever get beyond the diagnosis and have a productive and safe future.

Online Mental Health Support Groups at SupportGroups.com

SupportGroups.com is for individuals, friends and families who are looking to connect during life's challenging times. Share experiences, evaluate information and get support.

written by Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD

References

  1. Factsheet: How do I find a local support group?
  2. Schizophrenia Support Meetup Groups

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