The do’s and don’ts where mental health is concerned

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS CONCERNING A MENTALLY ILL PERSON. When our son was ill, we discovered that it was a good idea to: 

  • Slow down when we spoke to David due to his schizophrenia. 
  • Give him space and avoid making him feel trapped.
  • Remain as calm as we could and give him all the support and concern we were able to give.
  • We knew that it was a good idea to speak slowly and quietly.
  • We used short, clear and simple sentences.
  • We avoided sudden, quick movements as if he were startled, he became angry.
  • We were as helpful as we possibly could be.
  • When replying to one of his questions, we gave firm, clear directions. Of course, learning to do all this took time.
  • We were told to respond to hallucinations or delusions by talking about his feelings rather than what he was saying.
  • We showed him that we were really listening.


  • We learned not to take control if we didn’t have to.
  • We knew better than to argue when our son was psychotic.
  • We never looked him straight in the eye as he considered that staring, and he became aggressive.
  • We tried not to confuse him; rather, we tried to interact.
  • I hugged him very seldom as he did not like being touched. It was better to ask first. 
  • It was always a bad idea to raise our voices.
  • We never gave him multiple choices.
  • We didn’t whisper, joke or laugh as that would have made him  think that we were laughing at him or joking about him.
  • We never told him an untruth. We were honest at all times even if we had unpleasant news to impart.



One thought on “The do’s and don’ts where mental health is concerned

  1. markingmyspot

    I know about mental illness. I have a mother who is bipolar and I spent my childhood going from the homes of one family member to another or to the homes of close family friends while she spent two or three months hospitalized. I have a father who is paranoid schizophrenic along with sexual obsessions. I can’t even begin to tell you in one brief comment what that was like. One day soon, I’m going to write about these experiences in my blog. They are stories worth telling. Oddly enough, neither I now any of my three sisters show signs of mental illness. My brother on the other hand…

    Needless to say, I will be following your blog…


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