Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Concerned neighbor needing advice please! Violent episode?


#1

From a visitor who posted in the main diagnosed forum - please add any suggestions you have:

From: 55anullem4h

I am looking for any input or advice. I have a neighbor who is dealing with schizophrenia. I first learned about her DX the first time I had her over at my place, we got to talking about medications and pdocs. I myself have DX of ADD, Depression, Anxiety.

She sort of casually mentioned that she has auditory hallucinations. We didn’t really get much into it, as at the time she was talking about some things in her life that had her feeling really down, etc. After that, it was pretty normal neighbor banter, how is school, how are you feeling, come say hi if you ever need to talk, etc. After a couple of months though we started hearing a lot of arguing and screaming. It took a couple days to confirm that she was alone, and in fact battling with voices. She has confirmed this.

My issue is that there was an incident where she hit me. Somewhere during our conversation, something got confused, and the whole mood changed, and she became violent, breaking a glass, and then getting very physically close to me and hitting me on the side of head.

At the time I just got out of there quickly, feeling that she most likely couldn’t control what was happening, or didn’t realize? I just know that I want everyone to be safe, her as well, but the situation has just seemed to escalate more and more. I live directly above her, and the screaming is nearly all day and sometimes during the night. It is getting exhausting for me, so I can just imagine the turmoil SHE must experience. I may have a way to contact her family, but I have hesitated to do so.

I also feel like I cant just stand by and watch and do NOTHING. Everyone knows how to deal with people when they are depressed etc, but tend to turn the other way with SZ? I hate to see anyone in pain, but I am also frightened to get involved or “blamed” for any outcome that may come from contacting her family.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!


#2

Looking for any advice, I have no experience in this realm, and want to do the right thing!


#3

GgHave you actually tried knocking on her door and speaking to her? She has already said she hears voices so if you suggest she is suffering too much and needs to go to hospital, she may listen to you. Only you know if you can do that. If she is a danger to others ( you), you can report her to the police. It will get her into treatment or get her better treatment and she will have a chance to get better.if you worry that she will be angry with you, just ask if you can visit her when she is in hospital, or call her and offer to bring her things she needs, etc.

The other thing I believe you can do in the US is ask for a “welfare check”, meaning you ask the cops to find out what all the screaming is about.

We get this query all the time here. She is not rational now, but when she becomes rational again, she will thank you for intervening.


#4

I support Hatty’s advice. If you are in the US, when calling the police be very specific in stating your neighbor has a history of mental illness, and you are concerned for her safety. Request a CIT (crisis intervention trained) officer if one is available where you live.

Mentioning the incident where she struck you is tricky, since, if an untrained officer responds, he or she may feel obligated to handle the situation as a criminal act.

If you do know how to contact her family, and you think they are supportive, I suggest you do reach out to them. They may have other suggestions. As the parent of a young man who has similar episodes, I have always appreciated when neighbors show soft hearts and understanding rather than being accusatory! I want what is best for my family member, but I also don’t want to cause grief for others.


#5

@Hatty Thank you so much for responding. She and I have spoken about her condition before, but since the episode where she hit me, I have become quite afraid of what can happen if I get too involved, especially WHILE she is actively screaming. On the other hand, I am beginning to feel as if I have no choice but to intervene in some way. If something terrible were to happen to her, I would never forgive myself for not taking action… Here is part of the dilemma, and perhaps anyone reading this can give me some additional insight: She is highly intelligent, and on some level, is aware that her behavior is not appropriate, as she DID apologize to me for the incident. During the episode, security for our complex heard her, and spoke with her, and either they or someone else who heard her screaming called the police. The police found her down the road a bit, as she went walking and screaming, spoke with her and let her go. I have observed times where she will be screaming and breaking things in her apt, then 5 minutes later speak to a neighbor outside as if all is calm and normal, totally rational conversation, then once alone again in her apt, the screaming and arguing starts again. I am beginning to suspect that she may be avoiding getting help, and for the most part can control her behavior to the point where it is not readily apparent that she needs help to those who are not super close in proximity. As I write this, it occurs to me that perhaps this is all the more reason for me to take action now, so that she doesn’t have to suffer any longer than necessary…

I will try to make contact with her family and also call for a welfare check.


#6

@Vallpen I will definitely be very specific when I call for the welfare check, I absolutely want anyone responding to know the specifics and not treat her harshly.


#7

I recommend you read this web page we have on “First Aid” for psychosis / schizophrenia - so you understand the best way to interact with her when she’s psychotic.

http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005561.html


#8

I agree to try to get her some help. Be very clear that you are requesting help with whomever you speak to.

Try to see if there is a local crisis team of social workers for mental health from the Department of Health and Welfare if you are in the US.


#9

Hi, I agree with all of the other ladies. In the US, You can ask for a welfare check and you can also report it to the cops, but when you do please be present at her apartment when they come. A lot of policeman are not trained to handle the mental ill. And call CIT(crisis team) she is a danger to others because she hit you. Yes, Please try to contact her family. Thank you for being a caring friend to her because she needs that…Be bless!