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Dont know how to help her



New member
Jun 26, 2009
I am a support worker/personal asistant to a 20 year old girl with schizophrenia. I have been working with her for about 9 months but have recently become very concerned as i have found out she is using class a drugs, namely pills and cocaine. Its not regular, as far as im aware, but it has happened on a few occasions in the last few months. She drinks quite heavily which, although i have tried to explain that drinking might not be the best thing to do with the meds she's on, she doesnt seem bothered about. My worry is that i have no one to talk to about this. If i tell her parents i dont think there's anything they will be able to do plus it will ruin the trust she has in me, and i dont have any kind of link with her mental health team. Its very frustrating as i really want to help her but she doesn't seem interested in getting better, she just wants to be a 20 year old girl having fun with her mates and getting trashed. I dont know much about the meds she's on but i know she's on alot (i think anti psychotics, sleeping pills and mood stabilises) and i cant be good to be doing drugs. Part of the reason she has ended up with all the mental health issues she has was due to doing drugs when she was very young. Im just so worried, not just about her doing more damage to her brain but also about how dangerous it is to be doing these drugs. She gets herself into some terrible situations sometimes, her male friends are less than desirable and i worry about something bad happening. When i ask her about it she says that she feels good when she's drunk or on drugs, which of course im sure she does, i've been there i know how it feels but she doesnt seem to understand the after effects. For the last 2 days she has been really out of it, more so than usual, she's barely spoken to me and it was today that i found out she did pills a week ago. Her parents dont seem to know whats going on, i know they try and stop her drinking but there's only so much they can do.
I really want some advice on who i should speak to or what i should do. Its got to the point today where i wondered how long i can do this job if im just gonna have to watch someone destroy themselves.



About the best help is from people who have been there with the drugs -


Maybe ring them & have a chat, they will have a far better angle than 'Frank'.

If someone doesn't want help; then there is not much you can really do. There is information on-line on Dual Diagnosis, it would seem that a lot of people self medicate. Unfortunately there is very little proper support for severe mental illness, & very little for addiction. Singly each problem can be incredibly hard - combined things verge on the impossible. But some find recovery.


Well-known member
Founding Member
Jan 26, 2008
North Lincolnshire
Carer and friend? Or judge? Your limits.

All I can do is tell it how I see it! So sorry if its a bit straight-up. Forgive me - my excuse - I've lived in Yorkshire for "too long"!!!

You have to define your role. Your job description will partly help with this. You certainly dont want a negligence case at the end of the day. But on the other hand you cant stop her doing what she wants with her own body.

In short, if you care enough or want the job enough you have to "go along with it and turn a blind eye". Your job as her carer might be about caring about helping her through this, and that might be something you can do for a few weeks, months or years. You will be exonerated if you always say you didnt know what she was doing if the worst comes to the worst.

Are you there to rescue her or help her cope?

Booze and pills are sometimes part of peoples coping mechanisms.

If you are there to help her cope, obviously bad to do anything illegal - drugs and so on. But if part of your job is to get her shopping and she wants a bottle of wine in there, you might consider just not judging and getting on with it? Up to you of course.

Have nothing to do with illegal drugs. But alcohol is legal and if she has medication from her GP so is that. If she unwisely mixes them - then that is not your issue to judge her. Your job is to help care for her. That might mean encouraging her to eat something to help with the after effects (and keep healthi-er) or cleaning up vomit. I dont know the lady or what she does.

Its all down to how you feel about the job and more importantly - your personal relationship with her. She has the right, at the end of the day, to destroy herself if she wants to. By letting go of judgement we release ourselves to truly feel.

Her mental illnesses cloud her ability to make sensible judgements for herself. You are her carer, not her psychiatrist! Let yourself off the hook?

It does sound like because you have empathy with her (because you have had difficulties yourself in the past - which will make you an even better helper than someone who has been numb all their lives) that you have what is known as a "boundaries issue" here.

You cant cure her. you cant save her. Only she can do that.

You have a job to do. think carefully about how you can Enable her - to do what she wants. And stop judging her. Then you are free to be and do what she needs you to do.

I am a woman and I realise that she might be exposing herself to AIDS and whatever if she is not being safe about sex, men, drugs, alcohol etc. But you need to sit yourself down and define what you can and cant do for her. And where you responsibility begins and ends. And where hers does too with regard to herself.

I sound like someones mother!!!!! Sorry!!!

But I hope something I have said makes sense, and please believe, it is well meaning.




New member
Jun 26, 2009
Cloudberry thankyou! I think sometimes all i need is to be able to share my thoughts with someone and be put back on track. When i was doing youth work there were other staff members to talk to and regular supervision but with this job, nothing!
Your very right about me realising what job i am there to do. The problem is when i took the job there was talk of me helping her get her life back on track, maybe helping her do voluntary work and things like that but it quickly became clear that im employed as a babysitter. There has been no talk of doing anything and to be honest the parents cant see what needs to be done. There doesnt seem to be any help from the mental health team. The way i see it is that you dont do jobs like this unless you care and want to help people so its very frustrating to be stuck in one place without moving forward, if anything we're going backwards.
Maybe im just out of my depth. Of course i want to save her, the thought of her being like this her whole life is awful. I know she's young and isn't interested in improving her mental health, i know she does enjoy the attention and thinks she's special because in her opinion, no psychiatrist has been able to make sense of her condition (i wouldnt know this for fact as, like with most things, i only have her word for it and she has false memories and is confused about whether things have happened in this reality or her virtual reality). She likes the fact that she gets to have a PA and i know that she likes me alot and i have managed to influence her in minor ways to change her thinking but alot of what i say she doesnt hear or doesnt believe.
The boundry issue is a tricky one and i think thats because im treated as her friend/babysitter and not an employee. Im pretty much on my own gathering info when i can, having sneaky chats with the dad because he's the only one that will tell me about her condition and her past and doing the best i can when i dont really know what i should be doing.
Having just read back throguh this it seems im more confused than i thought i was! Im so stuck, i wish i could talk to someone in depth about this and finds ways to help her but there is no one. Im once again feeling like im not cut out to do this job.



Some medicines , like anti-psychotic are extremely powerfull and depressive

I wish I didn't use cannabis, but it certainly does help

Once a month or so I have a binge in the Pub

It's very important that I take my tranquillisers, but less important that I use cannabis to cope.
I've been out of hospital for three years and i'm reluctant to change anything about my present lifestyle
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