Families and Friends
A Message for Caregivers
A Message for Teens
Arm Yourself with the Facts
Consequences of Stigma
Myths About Schizophrenia
What Causes Schizophrenia?
How the Brain Operates
The Course and Outcome
Stepping Stones to Recovery
The Stereotype of Violence
Schizophrenia at School,
Work, and in Relationships
Links to Other Resources
Myth / People with schizophrenia are not
able to make decisions about their own treatment.
Fact / Most people with schizophrenia are
both able and eager to participate in decision-making about their treatment.
During the onset of the illness or during periods of relapse, people may
have some difficulty with decision-making. A persons ability to
make these decisions may change during the cause of the illness. Research
shows that patient and family involvement improves outcomes and increases
the likelihood of the patient adhering to his or her treatment plan.
People with schizophrenia and their families
also have an important role to play in planning (and some delivering)
treatment services, as well as in training mental health professionals.
This kind of "consumer" input results in demonstrable improvements
in professional attitudes and in treatment outcomes.
What Is Reintegration and Why Is It So Important?
/ Rehabilitation improves quality of life for people with schizophrenia
and reduces relapse and rehospitalization rates. The goal of rehabilitation
is to reintegrate the ill individual into life in the community.
Several types of services are needed. After
a psychotic episode, an individual may need to relearn basic social and
life skills. This training is often provided by Clubhouse or day hospital
programs. Supported housing is essential; often the only affordable housing
former mental patients can find is in sub-standard inner-city hotels and
boarding houses. As well, landlords are often reluctant to rent to former
Vocational rehabilitation and job placement
give the person meaningful, productive activities and increase self esteem.
Enabling people with schizophrenia to work also reduces welfare costs.
Recreational opportunities are another need. Peer support groups provide
socialization, emotional support, and give people an opportunity to learn
coping strategies that have worked for others. Supportive counselling
can help the person accept the fact of his or her illness and deal with
the losses it entails.
People with schizophrenia often have trouble
locating the services they need. Typically different services are provided
by different agencies, each with its own rules and bureaucracy. Accessing
services requires knowledge, perseverance, and planning. Even making and
keeping an appointment may be difficult for a person with low motivation
and impaired organizational skills. Ironically, healthier individuals
are the ones who are most able to access services, while the severely
afflicted are most likely to fall between the cracks, especially if they
lack family support.
Case management, in which one professional
is responsible for advocating for the patient and coordinating needed
services, is one successful model for providing rehabilitation. Another
approach makes use of a team of mental health professionals from different
disciplines to provide services. The team approach allows for maximum
communication among the patients caregivers and provides long-term
continuity of care. Unfortunately, neither of these models is widely used
in most countries.