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Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can affect people from late teenage years onwards. Symptoms include severe delusions, hallucinations and confused thinking. Although not completely understood, it can develop over time or as a result of severe stress or emotional trauma of some kind, and it is thought that it could be genetically linked, or triggered by use of illegal drugs.  This illness is often something other people notice, due to erratic or bizarre behaviour that the sufferer doesn’t think is abnormal.  This can lead a schizophrenic to believe the world is against them and may cause them to stop socialising and mixing with others. 

It is important to seek medical help from a doctor (GP) for a proper diagnosis.  If you caring for somebody, or are, under 18 years old, the GP may refer you to the Children’s and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for counselling and therapy.

Urgent help may be necessary if you or somebody you know experiences a serious mental health crisis, such as extreme anxiety, panic attack, mania, hallucinations, extreme self-harm, suicidal behaviour.  In this situation you can call The Police or Ambulance services (999 / 101).  They may call The Crisis Team who will assess a patient to see if hospitalisation maybe necessary.

Young Minds is a young people’s online information service about emotional and mental health. This link about Schizophrenia has easy to understand information about what the illness is, who can support you, and links to booklets and an NHS online video about Schizophrenia.

The Royal College of Psychiatry pinpoint the basic facts and symptoms about Schizophrenia in an information sheet for YOUNG PEOPLE, parents and carers, with practical advice about how to get help.  There is a lot of reading here, but the sections give a clear picture of Schizophrenia and a story from a 19 year old giving a real picture of the illness. 

The Siblings Network for Brothers and Sisters is a support service for young people living with a brother or sister with a mental health illness. Lead by Rethink, young people can talk about and share and find more support to help them understand mental illness in a sibling.

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