Supporting a friend with schizophrenia can be challenging, but your assistance can make a significant difference in their well-being. Here are the top five ways a friend can help:
- Support Their Treatment
Encourage your friend to stay on top of their treatment plan, which often includes medication and therapy. Offer to help with appointment reminders and attend sessions together if they’re comfortable with it.
- Listen and Be There
Be an empathetic and non-judgmental listener. Your friend may need to talk about their experiences and feelings. Simply being there to listen without trying to ‘fix’ things can be incredibly supportive.
- Help with Daily Tasks
Schizophrenia can sometimes affect a person’s ability to manage daily responsibilities. Offer assistance when needed, whether it’s chores, errands, or meal preparation. Your practical help can alleviate stress.
- Stress Reduction
Assist your friend in finding and practising stress-reduction techniques, encourage them to explore relaxation exercises, hobbies, or activities that help manage anxiety and tension.
- Maintain Social Connections
Keep your friendship alive and inclusive. Invite your friend to social events and gatherings. Loneliness can exacerbate symptoms, so staying connected can have a positive impact on their mental health.
While these are the top five ways to help a friend with schizophrenia, it's important to remember that support should be tailored to their individual needs and preferences. Always respect their autonomy and boundaries and seek guidance from mental health professionals when necessary.
Michelle Hammer is a Schizophrenia Activist and spends her time passionately fighting stigma.
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