A mental illness that can often lead to a psychosocial disability is schizophrenia. If a person with schizophrenia has been diagnosed with psychosocial disability, they will have their reasonable and necessary supports covered under the NDIS. Some of the people we support at One Good* Day are living with schizophrenia, and it can be huge barrier to navigating the world.
To raise awareness, we’ve done some research and put together information about schizophrenia, including what it is, the common symptoms and how to support someone who may be experiencing psychosis.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious and chronic condition that affects more than 20 million people around the world. It’s typified by a distorted sense of self and thinking, perception, emotions and behaviours. People who experience schizophrenia often report seeing things that aren’t really there and hearing voices (hallucinations) and delusions.
At One Good* Day, Recovery Coaches work with their clients to create goals around managing their psychosocial disability using a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). A WRAP is a self-designed wellness action plan that’s created to promote wellness and achieve their individual goals as well as those set out in their NDIS plan.
Because psychosis is a chronic condition, it can be useful to develop a plan to cope with an episode when it happens, which is something our Recovery Coaches can work through with you.
As a form of psychosis, schizophrenia is characterised by distortions and delusions. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Suspicions or fixed beliefs that aren’t shared by other people or are held onto as true despite evidence that says otherwise
- Feeling, hearing or seeing things that aren’t really there
- Exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviours like wandering aimlessly, talking to oneself, looking and feeling disorganised (especially in appearance)
- Inconsistencies between the emotions being experienced and how they appear as body language or facial expressions.
How to support someone who experiences psychosis
One of the first things to understand is that it might be difficult to talk to or communicate with someone experiencing psychosis. They might be talking really fast (or slow) and changing topics quickly, struggle to concentrate and be distracted (or even sluggish).
To start, try to be non-judgmental and supportive – talk in a slow voice with a calm, even tone. Listen to what they’re saying, validate their feelings and be empathetic to what they’re going through. Don’t argue with the person or make any snap judgments about what they’ve experiencing – try to also use the same language as they do, especially if they talk about a voice and name it (like “Kate”, for example).
One Good* Day Recovery Coaches can support you
Our Recovery Coaches support people with psychosocial disabilities to gain back some control over their lives and get on track to mental wellness. If you or someone you know needs immediate support, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Or, for assistance managing an NDIS plan, get in touch with us at One Good* Day.