Help for a Mentally Ill Adult

Updated on June 10, 2011
S.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
6 answers

Hello! Long story short, everyone who knows him is convinced my 25 year old cousin is mentally ill. Due to his behavior and family history of schizophrenia (Dad has it and Dad's 2 brothers who committed suicide also had it) it seems very obvious. He is living at home with my aunt and all she ever says is that she is sure he has "something" but that as an adult, HE needs to seek help, she cannot do it for him.

I am sure there are some resources. Can anyone help? Thanks!

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answers from Appleton on

Contact Social Services and ask what steps need to be taken to have him involuntarily commited. They can usually commit him for 3 days, enough time to get a diagnosis and start him on medication. But since he is an adult he cannot be forced to take the medication or go to counseling. It might be possible to have him placed in a halfway house to continue treatment.
Schizophrenics can become violent so your aunt's safety should be your primary concern.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You can get him a court ordered evaluation. It's different where ever you go so you may want to call a lawyer to discuss what is required of you/him etc by the courts but this is an option you can persue ... often they do have to be a danger to themselves or others and it has to be documented some how. Again, I would contact a legal service in your area and get more information, you want to do it right the first time.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My son also has schizophrenia. He agreed to go to counseling, and I took him. When he had a breakdown they helped him to get into treatment. It's sad but the medication makes a huge difference! I hope your cousing gets help!


answers from Phoenix on

Like you said, hes an adult and he needs to take care of it himself. You can't force him to go if he doesn't think he has an issue. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sadly your aunt is right. She can give him the info and encourage him to get help. You guys could maybe even do an intervention type thing but unless he's a danger to himself or others, you can't force someone to get help. My mom is mentally ill so I'm pretty well-versed with this. I couldn't believe it at first b/c my mom is pretty bad off but that's just how it is...



answers from Minneapolis on

Your aunt is right. An adult cannot force another adult to do anything.

However, if he shows that he is a danger to himself or others, then another adult (including you) can call social services and ask about having him "committed." This is not as scary as it sounds.

I had to do this with an in-law. An in-law of mine was mixing her drugs and zoning out, which was dangerous to others because she'd continuously drop lit cigarettes on the carpet in her apartment building. My husband's family, being too close to the situation, needed an "outsider" (me) to make the call.

At the very least, social services can open a case and recommend treatment. And if your cousin is schizophrenic, he needs treatment.

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