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.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric illness which afflicts about 1% of the public. 

Source; The Schizophrenia Fellowship, 2014.

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