Supporting a Loved One

Getting help for your loved one with schizophrenia can be challenging, but BCSS is here to help.

If you or a family member is in crisis, please call 9-1-1 or the BC Mental Health Support Line.

How to get help for a loved one

Family members often play a critical role in getting help for someone showing signs of mental illness and supporting people throughout their illness. Navigating the mental health system is challenging and can place significant strain on family members. BCSS is here to provide information, resources, and support to help you care for your loved one.

bcss british columbia schizophrenia society person helping a loved one with schizophrenia

Steps to providing support

Take the initiative

If schizophrenia symptoms are occurring, ask your doctor for an assessment or referral. Family members are usually the first to notice symptoms and try to get medical help. If the ill person believes their hallucinations and delusions are reality, they may resist treatment. Do not give up. Remember, the earlier psychosis is treated, the better the prognosis is for the individual.

Be persistent

The assessment and treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders should be done by a qualified doctor. Choose a physician who has a sound understanding of these disorders and can establish a positive relationship with patients and their families. If you lack confidence in a physician or psychiatrist, you always have the right to seek a second opinion.

Assist the doctor or psychiatrist

People with schizophrenia or psychosis may not be able to provide necessary information during an assessment. Talk to the doctor yourself or write a letter describing your concerns (e.g., previous diagnoses, medication history, etc.). Be specific. Be persistent. The information you supply can help the physician determine an accurate assessment and the best treatment.

Family Resource

Obtaining and providing mental health information

Understanding the mental health system and your rights is important when you are providing or requesting information about your loved one. BCSS provides helpful resources for family and friends of people living with schizophrenia.


Resources on advocating for your loved one

Discover valuable tools and resources that can increase your knowledge of schizophrenia, strengthen your advocacy efforts on behalf of your loved one, and support you and your family.

Steps for working with delusions

Working with delusions is similar to working with hallucinations, except that more non-verbal techniques are required. You will need to sit in silence longer and with more patience, as delusions do not tend to go away, ever. The person may not verbally express them as often, but they are usually omnipresent.

managing delusions
bcss british columbia schizophrenia society person working with delusions