My cousin

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I need so advise on helping my cousin. She knows that her husband is a schizophrenia, but didnt find out till after they were married. They have a daughter and take care of her nephew. She has tried to talk to him about getting help but wont. He did try one time but he was going to have to miss work and decided not to stay. Well seh cant even come and visit me for a couple of days casue he will get mad!! She knows that when she gets home things will just be worse b/c she took there daughter. I have told her that she needed to leave anyway for the safty of the kids and she agrees but still will not come. How can i get her to come here and tell her husband that he needs help and she needs to get away before things get even worse. He has thoughts of suicide and in another voices has told her that he would kill her, were not to sure who he was talking about but that is still a little frighting when there are children around. Please help me to help her get out and for her to help him get the help that he NEEDS!!

A. If I understand your question correctly, you are asking me how you can get your cousin to come stay with you and bring her children. Additionally, you want to know how you can get her to get help for her husband who is experiencing frightening symptoms of schizophrenia but refuses to seek treatment on his own. If this is indeed what you are asking, I can tell you that this is a difficult situation. First, it does not sound like your cousin is willing to leave her situation. You can keep trying to convince her to leave and stay with you for a while with the children but if she is not willing to, there is not much else you can do to force this move.

Secondly, she can take steps to get her husband help against his will. If he is making suicidal or homicidal (saying he is going to kill her) threats, or any kind of threat for that matter, she could and should try to have him committed to a mental hospital against his will. This can be a dicey situation because it can be very difficult to have someone committed because of strict state laws [every state is a little different]. But in this case, if he did make these threats to her, he should be committed. If he is not willing to go the hospital on his own, she would have to call the police and/or local crisis team and report that he has been threatening her. The police or the crisis team will come to the house and assess the situation. If the police or crisis team believe that he is a danger to himself or others (in this case the family), they will hospitalize him even if he does not feel that he needs to be hospitalized. If she is not willing to leave and come stay with you, maybe she would be willing to have him committed. If he is indeed refusing to seek treatment and is a danger to himself or others, it is in his best interest that he be committed until he is stable and not threatening to kill her or others. Give this advice to your cousin if she is not willing to leave the situation and stay with you. I hope this helps. Write again if you have any more questions.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). My cousin. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/08/10/my-cousin/