Q. My mother has no capacity to care for my Schizophrenic brother, legally he is an adult. I have a double question. My bother has Schizophrenia but will not/cannot recognize it. We cannot afford any kind of consistent help and as he is an adult “19, living at home, no job or education” by the state of Georgia. It is completely up to him to commit himself, unless he breaks the law and is forced into care by authorities. There are zero options. Anything we can do in GA requires my bother that is mentally incapable of making a rational to somehow make on. Sliding scale, free, or income based; all view my brother as an adult. What are our options? Second. What are caretakers to do? My brother terrorizes my mother and two sisters 24 hours a day. He walks around naked, accuses them of sending messages through the wall, screams in the front yard, talks to himself in mirrors, and calls the police when he “hears” burglars. My mother (with rheumatoid arthritis) and sisters (16 and 12) must deal with this daily. There is no other family capable of helping, I want her to let him go and fend for himself, because she wont give up on her son she is wearing herself very thin, my sisters dread coming home from school. Where is the help for them? Books Resources anything, and please remember my family is very low income.

A. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Your situation is far too commonly the norm. In most states, there is little help for individuals having this same experience. What ends up happening is that the ill family member, who, at least half of the time, cannot recognize their illness, remains ill and continues to relapse. And because of the lack of a quality mental health care system, patients end up being pushed out of hospitals and too many ultimately end up living in jails and prisons essentially being punished for being mentally ill. It is a sad and shameful state of affairs.

Unfortunately, there is little that you can do. Your family has a few tough options that I will go over briefly. If your brother needs hospitalized, then your family should do their best to get him into the hospital. Once in the hospital, you can talk to the social workers about him going to live in a group home or some type of residential living facility. If he does not meet the criteria for being hospitalized and he is engaging in terrifying behaviors, your family may have to call the police, and maybe the police can have him committed to a hospital. I am not sure that your family can handle having him live at the house much longer, especially if his behavior is becoming too erratic and uncontrollable. There are other mental health services–some that can come to the house and give the patient their medications but those services are not available in all states. It may be helpful for your family to contact your local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) office to connect with other families experiencing similar situations. Most of the NAMI members are seasoned veterans when it comes to dealing with the illness and navigating the mental health system. You can also visit them at their website: www.nami.org.

Also, please read some of my other answers to similar and related questions:

http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/04/30/how-do-you-confront-a-schizophrenic/

http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/16/are-people-with-schizophrenia-violent/

http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/05/30/schizophreniaschizo-affective-disorder/

I wish you luck. Please write again if you have any more questions.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 May 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). How can I get help for my schizophernic brother when little help is available?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/05/22/how-can-i-get-help-for-my-schizophernic-brother-when-little-help-is-available/