You are a case worker with an organisation that provides services to people living with a disability who require support to participate in their community. The person you are working with, John, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He has experienced severe psychosocial disability that has impacted his quality of life.
You are assisting John to build his capacity to participate independently in a monthly model trains group, his favourite hobby. You have been working with John for two months and have got to know him quite well. He has been well during this time. His confidence is growing and it’s clear that he feels very comfortable with you. He is now tentatively interacting with others in the hobby group.
When you meet John at his home, he hesitates to let you in and is not dressed ready to go out. He appears anxious, continuously glancing at you nervously and looking away. When you enter the house, it looks unusually untidy. When you try to engage with John about today’s activity and ask if everything is alright you hear him say “Yes, yes, yes, yes ...” the rest you do not understand as he is talking very fast, his words are hard to understand and he isn’t listening when you try to interrupt. This is not like John at all.
You suspect John has not been taking his medication. You have talked to John previously about what you should do if he seems to be getting unwell, and he has said you should contact his mental health case worker.
How you react is important:
What you could say:
What approach you could take:
What de-escalation actions you could take if John becomes aggressive:
Tips to help prepare for next time
Mental Health First Aid: Psychosis First Aid GuidelinesThis guideline helps you identify signs that psychosis is developing, and includes how to approach the person, and how to deal with delusions and communication difficulties.Type: Guidelines (PDF) Length: 3 pages Produced by: Mental Health First Aid
Schizophrenia Fact Sheet and GuideThis fact sheet explains schizophrenia, how to recognise it, and how it can be treated. The site also provides a guide to support people experiencing schizophrenia, their family, friends and carers. Type: Fact sheet and guide Estimated reading time: 10 minutes Produced by: SANE Australia