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To Sam


HI Sam,
My best friend J*, has just been diagnosed with Schizohrenia. I am worrried as he has changed alot since i met him 6 months ago when he moved into a hosue with his mum. He is only 16 years old, and hasnt told anyone of his friends apart from me and I dont know what to do? It has effected me alot, but  i dont know why as he is just a friend, but i cant seem to stop thinking about him and its effecting my work at school
Ask Sam



Discovering that someone we care for has a mental illness can be an upsetting and worrying time. It can create lots of uncertainty, especially if a lot is unknown about the illness, you have heard negative comments, or have unanswered questions.

Schizophrenia affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Some symptoms for some people may include hallucinations (seeing, tasting, and hearing things that others don’t), feeling confused and unable to focus for long periods of time.

It is not uncommon for people to change after a diagnosis. People need time to adjust to the news, consider the effect it will have on their life, and possibly get used to any medication prescribed. It is important to remember that once people are diagnosed they are often offered support from CAMHS, or early intervention services.

Telling friends and family about a mental illness diagnosis can be a big step, people can worry it will change or even end a friendship. It might help to remember that your friend is still the same person. Perhaps once he has seen how positively you react he might tell other friends.

There can be negative messages in the media about mental illness and in particular schizophrenia, so it might help to have a look at expert sites like Young Minds, to make sure you have the correct information.

It is great to support friends through difficult times, but it is important to look after yourself as well. You could talk to a ChildLine counsellor, and perhaps share your worries with an adult you trust to keep it private.

Take care,


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