Cousin With Schizophrenia

December 5, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My cousin was recently diagnosed with Schizophrenia. How can I be supportive and let her know that I’m here for her without making her self-conscious or uncomfortable?


Dear Katrina,

     Your cousin is fortunate to have you in her life. I encourage you to research Schizophrenia so that you better understand what she’s going through. The National Alliance on Mental Illness ( is an excellent resource.

     Treatment for mental illness combines medication and supportive therapy. Although medication can help ameliorate symptoms, it can take time to find the right one. Once the person’s condition is stabilized, a good support system is essential to help regain social skills, returning to work or school, finding housing, or whatever the specific issues are to each person affected.

     You can let your cousin know that you are interested in being a resource to her in any way that you can be. Reach out to her as an equal and she will likely respond positively. Please keep us updated on your situation.

All my best,


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