Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Friend w/ suspected sz. What should I do?


I’m not sure where to even start. I had a high school friend reach out to me last night and tell me how sad he was at the election results, which I thought was somewhat normal. He then began to talk about how cruel the world is and how he should do everyone a favor and get rid of himself…this is the point I became concerned. He then told me about a shadowy figure that he started seeing when he was 19 and now it is appearing more and more. He told me the numbers 33 and 333 follow him around and how his dad has threatened to kill him twice… I’m no doctor, but he is certainly paranoid. He refuses to go to a counselor because he is afraid it will make him feel like he is imprisoned. He lives states away from me and I’m not even sure of what town exactly. My question is, do I search for his parents who live in my town and tell them what is going on despite his complaints about abuse and threats from them? (They still support him financially)
And advice would be great, thank you.


Try to get your friend to a good early psychosis treatment center. If there is now one close to you - call the closest one and ask for a recommendation that is closer to you. Definitely sounds like the person needs an evaluation and the sooner the better - the longer it takes to get treatment, the worse the outcome:

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I would contact his parents and just sort of see where they’re at. I was really happy when a couple of my family member’s friends contacted me.

Something like:
Hi, I’m a friend of NAME. We went to high school together. I noticed when talking with him that NAME seems to be having a rough time. Have you noticed anything like that?

Try to sense whether they are one their son’s side and have his best interest at heart. If they are, tell them your concerns.

Hopefully they will get him help. You sort of risk losing his trust if his parents tell him about the call, but since you’re not close and he needs help, you can assess this risk.

Or, you could maybe say something to him directly, if this would not be even more upsetting to him, like, Please do not get rid of yourself. If you feel like getting rid of yourself, please go to an emergency room and tell the doctor. Also, give him the number of the suicide hotline?

It’s really hard to know what to do. The above ideas are just ideas, just brainstorming. Cross them off the list of ideas if they would not work for some reason.


Early tx is key. He sounds like he’s in crisis. Suicidal and seeing things is not good…

Please first try to work with him. Ask him why he doesn’t want to see a doctor.
A councilor is not imprisonment. They are health care workers with a passion to support those in-need. They are not going to imprison him. He can stop seeing them anytime he wants. If he doesn’t want to see them then he should see a psychiatrist (I think usually though you need to be referred). They can give him medications to make him feel better, and/or CBT, ECT, Etc.
At this point, however, I’m not sure how quickly he can be seen by a councilor or psychiatrist in an outpatient setting. He may need to go to the ER or to a crisis center.

See if he’s taking drugs that can be contributing to his s/s.

If you can’t get through to him then I would try to contact the family for his own safety. Look on his facebook/social media accounts (for family members) or the phone book for a # if you know the address.

If that fails and if he gets worse, or you become concerned then call a crisis center closest to him and tell them what’s going on, and what he’s telling you. They might be able to give you more advice.

Last resort you can call the police to check on him.

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cameragirl - Go into action on behalf of your friend; hereandhere gave you perfect advice. You are smart and wonderful for looking for advice — I had a precious friend kill himself when I was a teenager and I didn’t realize that his depression really meant that he was going to do it. Hugs and prayers.


Thank you all for your responses. I called my cousin, who is a licensed psychologist, and she said since he is states away from me and I don’t know his address or the town he lives to go to his parents. I went to his parents and was horrified at the response. His dad told me to pay him no mind, that he just wanted attention. I asked if he had ever threatened suicide or spoke of the number sequences or shadowy figures that follow him and he told me that he had never said this things, but to not lose sleep over it because he is an emotional boy (mind you, we are both 28). I also mentioned that he smokes pot which could exacerbate his situation and his dad quickly snapped that it was legal where my friend lived. I assured him that wasn’t what I was worried about, I was more worried about the effect it could have on his mental status. My last ditch effort to express the seriousness of the situation was explaining to him that I had another friend who had the same symptoms (delusions, some hallucinations, number sequences following him, symptoms beginning to manifest in early 20s, isolating himself, becoming angered easily, not wanting to let anyone into his life, etc.) and that he killed himself 1 year ago. I told him that with these sort of things it is important to take action fast and get him seen by a counselor. He told me that his son did not want to be seen for fear of being put in an institution…that led me to believe he knows that his son has a problem. I almost got the feeling he would prefer it stay far from him. I asked what I should do if my friend expresses suicidal thoughts. He told me just call him and tell him. (As if that was any help this time) I left with a knot in my stomach, not sure what to do except just keep being there for him. My husband thinks I crossed the line and it was not my place to approach his parents, but I would truly not be able to live either myself if I didn’t take action and something happened.

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Thank you so much for your advice. I also had a friend take his own life with identical symptoms as my friend (the one in the post) has and I would hate to see it happen again. I spoke with his father and ,unfortunately, got nowhere. As of right now, I am going to send him messages daily to let him know I am here for him.

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Thank you so much for your advice! I spoke with him about why he doesn’t want to be seen and he says if he told them what he saw that they would not only institutionalize him, but not believe him. He lives states away from me and I do not have his town or address or I would have called the police when he was threatening suicide. He is smoking pot and also brought up having a psychotic break when he almost died from smoking spice (which he no longer smokes). I approached his father (he lives in my hometown) and was told that he was fine and not to worry or lose sleep over it.

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I think you did everything you could.

If he calls you again, tell him how you feel, worried about him. Maybe suggest going to a doctor. These are medical illnesses.

One of my faraway friends developed psychosis and wrote to a bunch of us in a group e-mail that clearly showed positive signs of psychosis. I wrote back telling him I thought he was having a hard time, that I care, and if he felt like hurting himself or someone else to go immediately to an emergency room.

I feel sorry for your friend’s father, unable to respond to his own child.

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Thanks…Sure wish I could do more, but I will definitely respond that way if he messages me again.

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Hopefully he will feel better or get himself to a doctor.

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I think you did everything that you could and you acted from a place of concern; some parents should never become parents. The good news is that most people survive crappy parents :slight_smile: Hugs


You are an awesome friend and I’m proud of you for trying.