It may be difficult to communicate with a friend or relative who is having a psychotic experience and to understand their behaviour or what they are saying. But you may well be able to understand and sympathise with feelings, such as anxiety, that your friend or relative is going through. This doesn’t mean you have to confirm or deny their delusions. However, if you can accept their experiences, you can be more supportive, which can make their life easier and improve their sense of confidence in social situations.
Acknowledge when you can see the truth in what they say. For instance, someone who feels that people are talking about them behind their back may be quite correct. Worried friends and family may be doing just that.
Seeing someone you care about experiencing a psychotic episode can be distressing and even frightening. You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings and concerns with someone else, such as a counsellor, or to join a support group.
If you feel their mental health is deteriorating rapidly, and there is no crisis provision (including an advance directive) or other resources available, then you can suggest that your friend or relative seeks medical help from their GP, or the Duty Psychiatrist in a hospital Accident and Emergency unit. If the person doesn’t seek help and you believe they or others are at risk, the person’s nearest relative can ask for a mental health assessment to be carried out. Under the Mental Health Act 1983, it’s possible to be compulsorily detained in a hospital for further assessment and treatment, if necessary. You may wish to discuss the consequences of taking this action with other family members, first.