Strategies for Success

Mental Health Awareness and Communication

When you’re living with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, communication is an important skill that can help you build relationships and participate in your recovery journey.

Communicating openly and honestly with the doctor or members of your treatment team lets them know what you want and need. The doctor can use this information to recommend medication and treatment options to manage your symptoms, so you can work toward achieving your life goals.

Communication plays a role in relationships with loved ones and caregivers as well. Being open and clear about what you want and need from them can help you find ways to support one another.

Communication Tips Include:

  • Prepare
    • Think about what you want to say and write down any questions you have before talking with a provider or loved one
  • Think about what's important to you
    • Know what you want and need before you talk to your treatment team so they can understand what is important to you
  • Listen
    • Make sure your treatment team or loved ones know you hear and understand what they are telling you
    • Let your treatment team or loved ones know you are paying attention by responding to their comments
  • Ask questions
    • If you do not understand or need more information, ask for explanations to get the most out of the conversation
  • Be honest
    • Be honest so that what you want and need is clear
    • Honesty is really important when you are experiencing side effects or warning signs of a relapse
  • Pay attention to body language
    • Smiling, nodding, and eye contact are ways that you can show people you are interested in what they are saying

Cultural Competency

You deserve to receive care from a treatment team that respects your culture and beliefs. If language is a barrier, ask for an interpreter or clinician who speaks your language and for appropriate materials and information.

Print out and use the available tools and resources to help improve your communication skills, like the Understanding Mental Health Relapse worksheet or the Making Decisions Together workbook.