Schizophrenia can be a chronic and debilitating illness that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves.
- Individual may appear distracted at times
- Conversation may be disjointed with no obvious connection between sentences
- At times may appear to lack motivation
- Disrupted or deprived sleep patterns, resulting in tiredness
- The individual may demonstrate a pattern of irrational behaviour, paranoia or phobias
- May start to avoid social interaction
- Deterioration in appearance or personal hygiene.
Potential impact on daily life and employment
- This can vary massively depending on the severity of the condition, but can lead to social exclusion
- Diagnosis may have an emotional impact on the individual and/or their family and friends
- At times behaviour may be considered to be unconventional.
Support in the workplace
Additional support may be required in the first few weeks as the individual familiarises themselves with their environment and colleagues
- Ask the individual how they can adapt their own coping strategies into a workplace context – they know what triggers a change in their behaviour
- Make sure job expectations are clear
- With the individual’s approval, educate work colleagues on the condition. Consider a workplace buddy or mentor to provide personal support
- Consider environmental issues that may have a negative impact on behaviour (eg. noise, smell, touch or movement)
- Use flexible working practices to allow the individual to make up for lost time
- Gain emergency contact details from the individual and understand when these should be used
- Keep a positive and supportive approach – focus on building confidence and self-esteem.
Source; The Schizophrenia Fellowship, 2014.