Find a psychiatrist


Self-care for schizophrenia

  • Try to have a good relationship with the professionals involved in your care. Be honest and open. This will make it easier for them to understand and help you.
  • When you and your doctor have found the medication and dose that works best for you, keep taking it – don’t skip doses or give up.
  • Learn to recognise the signs that you could be having a relapse. Pay attention to changes in your body and in your thinking. Tell your mental health team or psychiatrist as soon as possible if you think something is going wrong.
  • Ask your case manager/key worker or psychiatrist to help you make a plan about how to deal with early signs of relapse. You can ask your close friends and family to help you if this happens.
  • It is very important that you attend all of your appointments. You will need to have health check-ups and screening tests to help you look after your physical health.
    More about staying physically healthy
  • Keep in touch with your friends. Nurture all the positive relationships in your life.
  • Be optimistic about your future. You can live with schizophrenia, and live well as you recover.

Coping with bad times

Suicidal thinking is usually only temporary, but it is dangerous to try to cope with it on your own.

Your treatment plan should include information about who to call if you need help, including when your normal doctors are not available.

Steps to surviving depression and suicidal thoughts

  1. Tell someone – your doctor, case manager, relatives, or friends.
  2. Get help – your doctor or case manager can help you manage your emotions.
  3. Don’t be alone – try to stay around people and keep active.

More about what to do if you're feeling suicidal 

Public mental health crisis assessment teams (sometimes called CAT teams) are trained mental health professionals linked to your local health service. In a crisis, you can call them to speak about your situation, treatment and symptoms.

If necessary, they can visit you or arrange follow-up with your own treatment team.

Ask your case manager/key worker for the phone number, and make sure you have it with you.

Help with work or study

People with schizophrenia can find it hard to stay in paid work. It can be very hard to look after yourself and meet employers’ expectations at the same time.

Programs may be available to help you get back into work or study. These could include training for work, or work programs (supported employment). Supported employment programs are very successful in helping people get and keep a job. These programs can help you find a suitable job or course of study, and then help you keep working.

Ask your case manager/key worker or psychiatrist if a program is available near where you live.

Help with living arrangements

Many people with schizophrenia have problems finding and keeping a suitable place to live.

Local services and support organisations can help – ask your health-care team or support worker for more information.

Help with social skills

Social rehabilitation programs can help you get back to mixing comfortably with other people.

Ask your case manager/key worker or psychiatrist if a program is available near where you live.

Group activities

If you are living with schizophrenia, it can help to take part in group activities. It is harder and slower to recover when you are lonely.

People in groups can benefit from each other’s experiences. They are also an opportunity to make new friends.

The friendly support you get from your group reminds you that you are not alone – other people have mental illnesses and are coping with many of the same problems as you.

Mental health workers or local community groups sometimes organise group activities for people with mental illness. These activities could help you:

  • get reliable information
  • learn how to cope with your mental illness
  • be more active and keep fit
  • make friends
  • become more independent
  • become more confident
  • cope with problems
  • with your study or work
  • have fun
  • feel less alone by sharing experiences with people who are also living with mental health issues.

Ask your case manager/key worker or psychiatrist if group activities are available near where you live.


Talking to someone is an important part of treatment.

Your case manager/key worker and psychiatrist can provide general counselling and support during and after an episode of psychosis.

Support services

Internet and phone apps

The OnTrack Get Real program is an online treatment for people who are having odd experiences, and are worried they may be getting out of touch with reality. It is mainly for young people in the early stages of psychosis.

Mental health treatments on the internet work best when your psychiatrist is involved.

Some of the information about mental health on the internet is not correct or helpful. If you are not sure or can’t find what you are looking for, talk to your health-care team.

Watch Hannah's story

I finished school and I moved out of home into student accommodation. Started uni and the stress of that, I just couldn't handle it.

I just felt like everyone didn't like me or hated me and wouldn't want me there anyway. I was just really paranoid of everyone and everything and I stopped going to my classes. I just completely withdrew.

I was hearing voices, telling me that people wanted to hurt me and they didn't want me around, they wanted me to die. Then when I did have moments of clarity, I just didn't think that I deserved to have anyone in my life.

I was trying to push everyone away and I was just thinking about suicide. Yeah.

But I do remember the day when they told me, they actually said schizophrenia. I just knew all the stereotypes surrounding it, like horror movies and I was thinking does that mean I'm dangerous? Does that mean they are they going to lock me away? I didn't really know what it meant.

People just think that someone's really unwell at one point they can never get better from that. But, they can.

It's a pretty scary illness but it doesn't make the people who have it scary people. We're just human, just like everyone else.

We just want the same things, like everyone else does. I like hanging out, going to the movies, go out with friends, play Cards Against Humanity. I have heard people having conversations, just like flippantly saying psycho or schizo and they're just saying all the stuff and they don't realise that it has such an impact. It just makes me feel like I'm not equal, I'm not an equal human being.

Looking back, I think I've done really well. I still experience psychosis, but I can manage it a lot better than I used to be able to, because I understand what it is now and why it's happening.

To be able to be here now and just doing all the things that I'm doing I can't really sort of believe it. And I think that's important for people to know, even though it might seem completely hopeless and like the end of the world, it's not you can get through it.

I know I'm a good person. It's weird to say that because I didn't think that for such a long time.

Video courtesy of SANE.

Page last reviewed Jan 2017 | C1036V1

This is a general guide only, and does not replace individual medical advice. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. The RANZCP is not liable for any consequences arising from relying on this information. Subject matter experts, people with lived experience of mental illness and carers all contributed to this fact sheet.