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As part of a treatment team, you play an important role. You help people living with schizophrenia find the help they need. No matter where your patient is on his or her recovery journey, you can make a difference.

Addressing Mental Health Treatment Beliefs

Let’s go through some common beliefs, barriers, and challenges surrounding treatment that you may have heard before from patients—or that may help you talk through it together.

I’m worried about side effects. 

It’s important to understand the risks and benefits of every treatment. A lot of people worry about side effects and have experienced them before. What kind(s) of side effect(s) are you concerned about? Work closely with me and other members of your treatment team to help manage side effects and plan for what to do if you do experience one. 

It’s going to mess up my daily routine and life.  

Lots of people living with schizophrenia or other health conditions have this concern too. However, there are a lot of treatment options. What is your normal daily routine? Could you try using a journal, cellphone reminders, or another tool to help you keep track of your medication? Your treatment team may be able to help you find an option that works with your schedule. If this has been a continuing issue, you can try a longer-acting treatment. 

I’m scared of needles.

It’s very common for people to not like needles, shots, or injections, even if they aren’t living with a mental health condition. Have you had an injection before? Tell me about that experience. Let’s discuss what your concerns are. Injections may cause some discomfort and injection site reactions. Talk to your mental health prescriber about your concerns. Is there music you could listen to or a relaxation exercise you could try as a positive distraction while getting an injection? Are you missing your injections because of fear? Do you mind sharing with me why you’re nervous about injections?

I don’t like the idea of medicine staying in my body for a long time.

Others have shared this concern with me and want to know what the medication is doing in their bodies. Ask your mental health prescriber to explain how your medication works and for how long. Is there something you are worried about, such as side effects or symptoms?

I don’t understand how medication will keep me out of the hospital.

Many people living with schizophrenia are worried about hospitalization. Medications are used to manage symptoms so you can live your life outside of the hospital, but sometimes hospitalization can happen, and that’s okay. Your mental health prescriber can also address your concerns and you can make a plan together.

I have a hard time taking medication regularly.

It’s okay if you feel a little overwhelmed. But taking your medication as prescribed gives it the best chance to be most effective. Could reminders help? Or is there a family member or friend you can ask to help you remember? You could also try journaling or phone reminders too. If you’re still having trouble remembering, you can also talk to your mental health prescriber about a different treatment option that you don’t need to take every day.

Young man sitting down talking to a woman with headphones around his neck

Motivational Interviewing 

Motivational Interviewing (MI) was developed by clinical psychologists to uncover patients’ underlying beliefs, assumptions, or even fears, and help them find the motivation to make a positive change. MI can help to:

  • Uncover patients’ beliefs about treatment 
  • Roll with patients’ resistance or barriers to treatment 
  • Introduce treatment options and elicit feedback

Effective MI techniques

Here are 6 quick, effective MI techniques you can use to engage patients. Try it by remembering to use your APRONS.

  • A Affirmations

    Acknowledging what the patient or caregiver is doing well

  • P Permission

    Getting the patient to agree before distributing information or an opinion

  • R Reflective Listening

    Listening: Rephrasing what the patient or caregiver said to clarify understanding

  • O Open-Ended Questions

    Asking questions that elicit something more than a yes/no/maybe

  • N Normalizing

    Communicating that having difficulties and challenges is not uncommon

  • S Summarizing

    Pulling together key parts of the conversation