Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What to say to siblings?

My sister-in-law just messaged me on Snapchat asking about what is going on with my daughter and if she is ok… I have talked to my parents and my oldest brother… this is the wife of my other brother… who I haven’t told anything to them or my sister about what is going on… I have no idea what to say! My parents and siblings live in a different state.

I only tell some people, and I tend to say “mood disorder”. My husband tells everyone on his side of the family everything, and I tend to be more of a “need-to-know” explainer. As fat as hospitalizations, I usually say that we are trying to figure out the right medications, which is true.


I usually say he’s trying to figure out some confusing things. I tell people he doesn’t know or close friends who are my support. It is up to him if he wants to share what is going on with him with his friends. I would make it lighter than it is and if your daughter wants them to know she can tell them. A need to know makes sense.

Sometimes I run into parents of his friends and they give me that odd look when I say he is living with me (at 29). I just say he had a few hiccups but is doing well now.

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I also think it would be hard to say much on Snapchat anyways… maybe I will say she is working through some emotional issues

The only relatives we ever discuss details with are those who are involved in our lives on a regular basis. If it is the in-law relatives (that we only talk to by phone 4-6 x year) they are asking IMHO for pure gossip reasons and they are told a disorder requiring medication. They are not involved in our lives, nor would they ever offer support/help if asked. Same with friends…only sincere people are told or explained to in detail. My immediate family we have told the name of the disorder and others we say a mood disorder that requires a monthly shot. If they are seriously interested they should be able to research on their own and come to some conclusions based on “the shot” reference alone. I feel if they really want to know they can put in the effort, research and maybe learn in the process.

If your sister-in-law is not close to you then IMHO she is simply satisfying a gossip need. Who the heck asks such a personal question on snapchat anyway…


If she really wanted to know what was going on, she could have called me instead of doing it on Snapchat


I asked my daughter about this during my noon visit and she said she doesn’t mind either way if I tell her or not.

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What is interesting is that as friends from church and the school that my wife teaches at (and my girls go to) are starting to find out generally what happened… there are a quite a few of them rallying behind us saying they have been where we are now

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@Windyhill63 We are all hoping for (and some are in advocacy roles striving for) less stigma associated with this illness, but the reality is that it is still prevalent. SZ is a hard illness to explain, let alone for the immediate family to understand. That being said, I am finding that some young people with this illness are very open in talking about it with their friends. The “softer” explanations might be better at this point unless these are discussions with someone whom you really trust. I would not put much of anything in writing that could be “accidentally” shared or forwarded. But you can’t blame people for being curious; however, you can control what you say and how you say it. You can also give your daughter tips on how she might want to do this. For example, I would never want a prospective employer to know that our son has a SMI. While it may not be legal, his chances of getting hired would be greatly diminished. You also don’t really know yet how this is going to play out over the next few months with how it, and the medication, will affect her. As I recall from another post, your daughter’s diagnosis is also not straight up schizophrenia, which is probably a good thing. So you don’t need people to presume things just because the word schizophrenia is used.

Older siblings (18+) can go to NAMI Family Support Groups and can attend the NAMI Family-to-Family class.

I have told many people about our son’s illness because they are people that truly care. They also do not often have any interaction with our son because he visits but does not live at home with us.