How can I get help/support for schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder?

You may wish to consult our website’s Schizoaffective Disorder and Schizophrenia pages where you will find information on the disorders, current treatments, ways to support recovery, and links to NAMI Discussion Groups that focus on topics related to the conditions.

 The following, additional resources may be of help:

  • NAMI Peer-to-Peer Classes which is a free, eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions who are looking to better understand themselves and their recovery. Taught by trained leaders with lived experience, this program includes activities, discussions and informative videos. However, as with all NAMI programs, it does not include recommendations for treatment approaches.
  • NAMI Family-to-Family Classes are for families, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. Designated as an evidence-based program by SAMHSA, it facilitates a better understanding of mental health conditions, increases coping skills and empowers participants to become advocates for their family members. Also available in Spanish, De Familia a Familia de NAMI. Find a class nearest to you via your local NAMI Affiliate. If a class isn’t available, contact your local NAMI Affiliate about starting one.
  • NAMI Connection Support Group is a peer support group for people with mental health conditions. Groups meet weekly, every other week or monthly, depending on location. This program is also available in Spanish, NAMI Conexión.
  • NAMI Family Support Group is a support group for family members, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. Groups meet weekly, every other week or monthly, depending on location. Find a group nearest to you via your local NAMI Affiliate. If a group isn’t available, contact your local NAMI Affiliate about starting one. 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis CBTp is an evidence-based talking therapy that concentrates on how an individual’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are connected. CBTp was developed as an individual treatment, and later as a group-based intervention, to reduce the distress associated with the symptoms of psychosis and improve functioning. To learn more visit:
  • Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance (S&PAA), (800) 493-2094, is a "go-to” resource for schizophrenia & schizoaffective disorder. They maintain a network of in-person support groups and also provide toll-free, weekly teleconference support calls for those living with the conditions and caregivers/allies. 
  • Schizophrenia.com also provides in-depth information, resources and online discussion forums for individuals and caregivers affected by schizophrenia and related disorders.
  • You may wish to read the book, Surviving Schizophrenia, 7th Edition, by E. Fuller Torrey, which has become the standard reference/handbook book on the disorder. In clear language, the book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment, and course of schizophrenia.  It also explores living with the disease from both the patient and the family's point of view, and how to advocate on behalf of a loved one living with the disorder.  The book can be purchased through online booksellers.
  • Hearing Voices Network is a peer-support service for those hearing voices. Their website offers an in-person support group locator. 
  • The SMI Adviser Tool is a tool created by APA and SAMHSA, Provides access to in-depth mental health courses, frequent and complex answers on SMI, clinical resources, mental health fact sheets, and more.
  • The Schizophrenia Health Storylines App is available for free through Google Play and the Apple App Store Developed in partnership with S&PAA, the app makes it easier to record details and specifics about symptoms, medication, moods, and more to help individuals living with schizophrenia and related disorders and their loved ones.
  • The UCSF PRIME App is available for free through Google Play and the Apple App Store. Developed by researchers at U Cal-San Francisco, PRIME provides connection to a social network especially tailored to the needs of people living with SCZ by connecting users to their peers and providing a direct line to mental-health clinicians called “coaches” (specially trained Master’s degree level clinicians) who communicate regularly with users to provide motivation and counseling in moments of need. 

How Can I Get My Loved One to Realize They Need Help?

Often an individual living with a mental health diagnosis – particularly one that involves a serious mental health condition (or one complicated by substance use disorder) – may not actively participate in their own recovery.  This is known as Anosognosia [Ah-no-zog-nosha], a co-occurring disorder that can accompany a serious mental health condition and render the individual unable to recognize that they have a mental health condition and/or that they need to seek help.  This is especially troubling for families and friends who are often responsible for providing care for their loved one.

To learn techniques for communicating with your loved, and to help them agree to partner in their recovery, we would recommend reading I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!, a book by Dr. Xavier Amador - a psychologist whose experiences with his own family demonstrated how challenging this phenomenon could be.  In his book, Dr. Amador discusses the condition of Anosognosia and outlines strategies for communicating with a loved one to help them work toward recovery.  Portions of the book are accessible to the public on our website here; the book is available in English and Spanish for purchase at online booksellers. 

A broader discussion of the strategies of Dr. Amador’s LEAP method, including videos on how to apply the LEAP method, are available for public access here.

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