When you or someone you love gets diagnosed with schizophrenia, you may be looking for organizations that focus on this condition. You may also be looking for ways to connect with other people who have schizophrenia. Here are resources to help you get started, including nonprofit organizations, blogs, and online communities.
If you’re looking for support groups, your psychiatrist is a good place to start. They may be able to put you in touch with a support group.
When you use blogs or online communities, keep in mind that this information isn’t medical advice. Also ask yourself these questions:
- Who runs or created the site? Are they selling anything? (Sites ending in: .gov, .org, or edu sites have generally been fact checked and are less biased)
- Does it make claims that sound too good to be true?
- Is the information up to date, reviewed, and based on scientific research?
These nonprofit organizations provide online information about schizophrenia and other conditions.
National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
Part of the National Institutes of Health, this link goes to NIMH’s section on schizophrenia.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizophrenia
This link goes to NAMI’s information on schizophrenia. Founded in 1979, NAMI is dedicated to improving the lives of people and families affected by mental illness.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/
This government agency focuses attention, programs, and funding on improving the lives of people with or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders.
American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia
This medical association represents doctors who specialize in mental health. This link goes to the APA’s section on schizophrenia.
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: https://www.bbrfoundation.org/research/schizophrenia
This foundation provides information about research into mental illnesses. This link goes to the Foundation’s section on schizophrenia.
Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/issues/mental-health-rights
This group focuses on the rights of people with mental illness.
Blogs are personal accounts of life with schizophrenia written by people with this condition. They can be a good place to learn how someone else managed their condition, and to connect with other people who have schizophrenia. Turn to blogs for inspiration and information, but check with your doctor for any medical advice.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog
You can search the “Categories” list for schizophrenia and other topics.
The SANE Blog: https://www.sane.org/information-stories/the-sane-blog
This Australian website focuses on people with complex mental health issues.
Overcoming Schizophrenia: https://overcomingschizophrenia.blogspot.com
Written by Ashley Smith, an advocate, author, and speaker.
Facebook. You'll find many different schizophrenia support groups on Facebook, which offer advice for the newly diagnosed and the more experienced "schizophrenia warriors." Some groups are private, but you can ask permission to join. Schizophrenia Support Group and Resources: https://www.facebook.com/SchizophreniaSupport/
Reddit. This online community brings people together based on their interests. The website is organized by topics. A few subgroups, called subreddits, are devoted to schizophrenia. https://www.reddit.com/r/schizophrenia/
Popular hashtags. Search #schizophrenia to bring up a list of organizations with active Twitter feeds.
Many schizophrenia organizations have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. To make sure you connect with the right group, click the social media link from their official account.
The quality of information on social media can vary widely. Be sure that you:
- Check the organization's website and click on the links to go directly to its social media account.
- Verify that the account is real. For example, Twitter uses a blue badge with a white checkmark to show that an account is verified.
Rights for People With Mental Illness
- Be treated with respect and dignity
- Have their privacy protected
- Receive age and culturally appropriate services
- Understand available treatment options and alternatives
- Get care that does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, or type of illness
People with mental illness may have rights that are protected under these laws:
Americans with Disabilities Act. https://www.ada.gov/ This law protects people who have physical and mental disabilities from discrimination in employment, government services and activities, public accommodations, public transportation, and commercial businesses.
Fair Housing Amendments Act. https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1 This act outlaws housing discrimination on the basis of certain conditions, including disability. In addition, landlords and owners of rental housing must make reasonable attempts to accommodate people with disabilities.
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. https://www.justice.gov/crt/civil-rights-institutionalized-persons This law allows the U. S. government to investigate government facilities, such as institutions for people with mental and physical disabilities, to remedy any problems in the care and safety of these individuals.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. https://sites.ed.gov/idea/ This law is designed to help children with disabilities get a quality education. Under the law, public school systems must create an education plan for each child with a disability, based on their needs.
Voting Rights Act. People who have psychiatric disabilities can sometimes lose the right to vote because of state law voter competence requirements. But these individuals can take steps to have their voting rights restored. In addition, under the Voting Rights Act, people with disabilities (including psychiatric disabilities) have the right to get help with voting. People with disabilities can also decide who will help them vote, including friends or family members, service providers, poll workers, or others. Find your local elections office here: https://www.usa.gov/election-office