Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Niece in crisis; alone and won’t allow anyone near

My 20-something year old niece ( brothers daughter) has been in steep decline for years. Never diagnosed. Paranoia “everyone hates me”, “everyone watching me” has been off and on for awhile.

Background: my brother is a stoic boomer who has a “ pull yourself up by the boot straps” type; thus, daughter has never been diagnosed. His daughter has driven across the country and is wandering around the Pacific Northwest… been living out of her car for 2 months. Obsessed with the Twilight series—- parents in denial that there is a delusional connection here.

Her mom’s therapist convinced her parents that daughter is at a breaking point/ crisis and per description is either schizophrenic, borderline or bipolar. They have gone up there and been up there for a week. Daughter won’t let them near her…say they are the cause for all of her pain. “Everyone hates her” she believes.

She has 0 contact with anyone except her parents in a disjointed way. Who have 0 experience dealing with mental illness/ crisis. Some denial of possible schizophrenia ( despite what moms therapist suggested she well could be)…She has no other contacts. So—- Basically they have to wait until there is crisis—- either she hurts herself or someone else. Is there no other way? Any advice?

Your observation is often true unless the person is of danger to herself. (Danger usually means at risk of dying…living out of car does not qualify, unfortunately, and in some states the criteria may be “IMMINENT danger to self or others”). Here are the laws by state:

However, in the meantime, the family CAN do the following:

  • Learn all you can about mental illnesses like this
  • Get familiar with information, resources, support groups, and educational classes at
  • Read the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Xavier Amador.

These are the best things we ever did. Our once non-med compliant son, missing and homeless, living out of a car in a far away state, not caring for himself, has been IN RECOVERY and able to live a meaningful life for the past 2.5 years.


Thank you so kindly your wisdom and advice. I’m hoping for the best outcome here. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience.