Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How To Convince Loved One They Need Help?



This post is about someone I care about. I will call them John. John is in his 40s and I believe he exhibits schizophrenic traits. He has always been a spiritual person, but it’s only recently that I realised that his ‘spiritualism’ is not entirely health.

John thinks he’s got special powers. That he has been put on earth to save humanity, and that some day – he will be able to do so. In the meanwhile, the demons and evil/negative forces, are trying to stop him. John sees these evil forces in the form of dust, wires and webs. He believed that he is coated in a web and needs to dust it off himself every few hours. He sees dust/powder around him that he believes is being put by the evil forces.

John also believes he communicates with a divine saint. There is a middle man (I think this man actually exists) who takes coded messages from John, and gives John the divine spirit’s reply (also in a code, which only John knows how to decipher). John has now come to believe that the messenger/middle man is out to kill him. If John is asked why he doesn’t stop communicating with the middle man, he says that the divine spirit has mandated that he must only communicate through him.

I fear that John’s episodes are getting more extreme by the day. Recently, for an entire six months, he did not leave the house. He said that the evil spirits got so extreme, that he couldn’t sleep, eat or sit down. He believed that the evil forces put wires in his feet that caused his feet to swell.

Now the problem is that John has never admitted any of this directly to me. When he is around me, and others, at gatherings and such – he acts perfectly normal (albeit we have always thought him to be a bit odd). He sometimes hints at the fact that he’s different/special, but has never said anything categorically.

I know all of the above because John recently began confiding in a common person, let’s call him Alex. John believes that Alex is special too. He feels that Alex and he were together in many past lives, and are destined to save humanity together. He feels Alex will bring him the messages that he needs to save the world.

Now the problem is that John seems to actually believe all this, and he knows how unbelievable it sounds to everyone else, which is why he doesn’t talk about it. Therefore, if I try saying, “John you have a problem” – he will expect that from me because he feels that the evil forces are controlling the rest of humanity.

How do I convince John to receive some help?

Thank you.


if someone does not like meat…can you convince them to eat it ?
you care…which is a good thing :heart:
take care :alien:


This is when I wish we had some kind of SZ task force that would come to people’s houses, assess them, and take them into a hospital.

You could call up a local psychiatrist. @notmoses should be around with some helpful links soon.

Thank you notmoses.



I hope John IS here to save the world–especially all of the delusional loved ones!

In the mean time, I am finding a rich resource in Dr. Xavier Amador’s book, “I AM NOT SICK, I Don’t Need Help: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment.” Vida Press, New York 2012. I purchased a copy on Amazon for $20.



I hope you and your friend both do really well.

All above I agree with.

In current US society, medical help for mental illness is hard to find, expensive, and inconsistent if accessible at all. More than half of people with serious mental illness do not receive treatment.

Find ultra high quality, affordable resources in the area before you try to talk your friend into accessing them. If you are in the USA, a NAMI chapter might (I don’t know the odds of this) point you in some direction. If you attend a support group for friends and family members, you can start finding out what is available.

To me, it seems like if someone were telling me to get help, I would like to know what help they were talking about and exactly how and where to get it.


I hate to say it, but if he is as convinced of his take on reality as he seems to be and still as basically functional as he sounds like he is, he’s nowhere near being at contemplation / consideration (on Prochaska & DiClemente’s five-stage scale of recovery), which is where one has to be for any form of motivational enhancement to work. Because he’s not going to sit down for a motivational interview.

That said, you may benefit from looking into the articles at the link below so that when things start to go south for you friend (sooner or later), you’ll be better equipped to help him out. (Don’t get snagged by the addiction stuff; MET/MI works the same for sz as it does for that stuff.


that’s a good idea!


I think the idea of ‘motivational enhancement’ is just wasting your time and energy to even think about. First of all, he is not ‘ambivalent’ about treatment. He has absolutely NO idea that he needs treatment. Secondly, you are not a qualified or experienced therapist or medical personnel any more than notmoses is, so it is not likely to have any outcome at all.

I have to ask, why YOU have to do this. Surely the person who has the potential to intervene in this situation is the person he has chosen as his confidant.

Also, if he is not dangerous, nor unhappy, and he is functional, why intervene at all?


Thank you. Puts a lot in perspective; I was battling with the question of intervening or not, especially as I don’t know if it’ll even amount to anything…


Thank you. Not even in the US … where we are mental health has a LONG way to go. But I will look at all the options and spend some time educating myself.


Thank you. This is what I needed to hear. I was torn between intervening or not – especially as I know deep down that John isn’t willing to listen. It helps to hear that if he’s functional (and he is), maybe the best bet is doing nothing as of now.


Thank you! This explains things to me very clearly. You’re absolutely right, he’s not ready to consider or contemplate. I will start reading the articles mentioned in the link – thank you for the resource!