I have a neighbor, whom I do not know that well, but in speaking with her on a few occasions have noticed that she may need psychiatric care. She lives alone, has never been married and does not have any contact with her siblings or other family members. As an RN, I have noticed some of her behaviors that she exhibits-she may just be eccentric, but I have observed a very labile mood with her-one minute she is crying about her job, and then she has the strangest forced laugh I have ever heard. She talks about her job and tells me that they (co-workers) are out to sabotage her. She has called me from work and asked me to watch her house because she is afraid a woman whom she works with will try to do something to her home. She has told me that she sees a ghost in her house and she believes that the women who lived there before was murdered in the home. I have a feeling that the reason she has no contact with her family is that they may have "disowned" her because she doesn't stick to treatments that she may have ordered. I am trying to find out names of her family members so that I can contact someone, but in the meantime, I think she needs to see a psychiatrist. I don't think that she is in any danger of hurting herself or anyone else, but there could be potential. What is the best way to convince her to get help? How can I help her see a professional?
I can see this from two perspectives. First of all as a person who has recovered from schizoaffective disorder (with the antipsychotic in Phase II FDA study glycine which is a new form of antipsychotic, a glutamate antagonist that promotes a fuller recovery and does not have the long term side effects of current antipsychotics) I can say that I myself voluntarily went into treatment and sought it from the beginning. However, for people that don't, I always speak to them directly and encourage them but never using judgemental language, "you'll feel better" or "I've been concerned" are good for starters and don't discuss how she might impact on other people, present it the other way how if things were going better for her life could be better for her and other people would understand her more. Make it an option she would want to choose. From there as for a referral to a psychiatrist, your local NAMI hotline should do.
But from the other perspective which is honesty if she is in danger or decompensating then I would speak to Adult Protective Services. They will follow up and make a visit and help out and if warranted take her to the psychiatric hospital but they are used as a last resort although I have used their services a few times judiciously with good results. But try to approach her first unless of course you believe she is not approachable but if possible I would see if she is ameanable to the idea of seeking help with your suggestion.
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