DEAR FIONA: How can I help deal with my nephew’s schizophrenia?

Fiona Caine gives advice on dealing with schizophrenia.
Fiona Caine gives advice on dealing with schizophrenia.

Our agony aunt solves your personal problems. 

Question: My 17-year-old nephew has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He's now undertaking some kind of assessment but, in the meantime, he has been prescribed medication to calm him down. 

My sister is very depressed by what has happened. I'm there for her as much as I can be, but I'd like to do more.

Other than her doctor, are there any other sources of help I can investigate for her?

Answer: I would suggest you steer her to the NHS website (nhs.uk) as there is a huge amount of information on schizophrenia, and also treatment options.

Schizophrenia is poorly misunderstood and there are myths around about ‘split personalities’ and a fear that people with the condition are dangerous.

Finding out all you can will help you feel positive and helpful while they go through a period of adjustment. Rethink (rethink.org) also provides information on many different types of mental illness, their treatments and what it means to live with them. 

Question: My daughter and I had a terrible row a couple of weeks ago about whether she should be allowing her daughter (my granddaughter) the freedom to go out with boys.

She’s only 16, but she’s allowed to stay out until midnight. There’s even been occasions where she’s stayed with her boyfriend’s parents.

Why can’t she see that I only have her daughter’s best interests at heart? I really don’t like the atmosphere between us now.

Answer: You may be concerned about your granddaughter, but I don't think you are showing much support for your daughter. Raising children isn’t easy but there’s nothing more annoying than someone telling you how to.

Your granddaughter is old enough to have a boyfriend and, providing she is sensible, be allowed to stay out. You think of her as a child but she’s old enough to get married.

If you want to heal this rift, and if she won’t answer your calls, I suggest you write or perhaps visit her.