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    Online Support for People Who Care About Someone with a Mental Illness

older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

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taralee
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Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Vancouver Island, BC

older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby taralee » 19 Nov 2011

I have a younger sister, she is 38 - so beyond the age of minority where anyone can enforce a diagnosis. She appears to fit the descriptions I have read about schizophrenia, having displayed paranoias of collusion against her from RCMP personal connections she had, as well as having removed herself from the world socially, and familially, from work and has even gone through depriving herself of her belongings and showing up near-starved with her near-starved pets at my mothers home, - on the property we share.

My parents are at wits end, my Mother likely to get help for herself, and look through the web resources i am finding, my father, determined to see this as behavioural and so limits his involvement - they are divorced since we were small. They have both leaned on me for support and I have redirected them to greater resources.

I am just wondering primarily if anyone has found themselves in a situation with a grown adult developing a late illness - this has appeared to come on in the last 5 years, though she was living away for 10 years and it could have been developing then. I have been told we have to wait until she has harmed herself to find enforced treatment, so any information would be great on how to proceed and find resources that may help our family be effective for my sister.

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AndrewBCSS
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Re: older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 20 Nov 2011

Hi Taralee,
You have been misinformed. If your sister is seriously ill, she can receive treatment. The mental health act was created to help in situations where a person's illness prevents them from realizing they are ill. The criteria for involuntary treatment include risks to health from self-neglect or severe worsening in health from lack of treatment. Here's a link to the guide to the mental health act:
http://www.bcss.org/2008/01/resources/f ... ealth-act/

People with schizophrenia need medication to get and stay well. It's not good for their brain to be actively ill, so the faster she get's medical attention the better. If she doesn't have schizophrenia, her symptoms could be caused by anything from a brain tumour or infection or other serious problem, so a doctor needs to sort out what's wrong asap.

In practice, it can be hard to get access to treatment, as mental health services and beds for critical patients are underfunded. However, it's possible. I suggest contacting your local BC Schizophrenia Society contact for some help figuring out how to go forward. Here's a link to the listing of contact information: www.bcss.org/category/regions/

Here's some information on how to advocate for your sister with the medical system.
http://www.bcss.org/2008/07/resources/h ... loved-one/

Psychosis (paranoia, hallucinations, delusions) can be triggered by extremes of stress, hormonal changes (after giving birth, menopause etc...), drug use. If you have people in your family who had a mental illness, or who committed suicide or had a serious alcohol or drug issue, it's possible that brain vulnerabilities run in the family. This history might be helpful to the doctor that examines your sister.

Sincerely,
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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taralee
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Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Vancouver Island, BC

Re: older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby taralee » 20 Nov 2011

Sohpia,

Thank you so very much for your reply - I really was so amazed to find this fabulous site and immediately put this out there not knowing if there would be any solution, but feeling better that I could air something. I will make an appointment to see the doctor that my Mother and Sister share, and also I will send this on to my Mother for information for her. At this time, living in my Mother's home, my sister has recovered her health and is keeping it well, however, we have had episodes, and truly, there are many, to include her former landlord that can confirm that she appears to really need some help. I would do anything helpful to get my sister back. Today, she spoke to my daughter - her niece - and put her hand on her neice's pregnant belly - a first - they had always been close but she had stopped talking to anyone beyond a hello if that, so we took that as she is in a better space, as in her dark times, there is no conversation. I will take all this information to the Doctor and push to gain some advocacy for her. I am so grateful for your information, and just the contact. My mother has not had luck with the doctor - him saying she appears fine, but I am infinitely more assertive so will now create a relationship with the doctor myself as well as contact the link you shared.

Thank you again so much and any further information from anyone is so very, very welcome!
Tara Lee

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AndrewBCSS
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Re: older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 20 Nov 2011

Hi Tara,
You will also find it helpful to keep a journal of any incidents, including dates. You may find that doctors will not discuss your sister specifically with you without her permission as her medical information is confidential. (There are some exceptions to this, included in the fact sheet linked below.) However, confidentiality does not prevent you from giving the doctor information.

http://www.bcss.org/documents/CollabWkshp/factsheet.pdf

Sincerely,
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

User avatar
taralee
Regular Poster
Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Nov 2011
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Vancouver Island, BC

Re: older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby taralee » 20 Nov 2011

Sophia,

Again, thank you so much! I had begun to gather some such information and asking our family members and close family friends who had experienced the decline in my sisters mental health to write their observation as to what happened, to keep it fact based and clear so I may present this all - I had not known it would be to any effect but am greatly confirmed by your e-mail. You are right, giving information is not a problem. There are situations of eviction for lack of payment and concerned citizens from volunteer positions she had that are likely very welcome to help so I will continue this.

I checked the link you sent of the Mental Health Guide, and it suggests to keep the linked form with you if you are attempting to get help for a person who is unwilling - do you know what part specifically? I recall it giving me the whole guide, but I will feel better armed knowing what specific part of the mental health guide will be necessary.

I think I can rather accurately timeline the past 3 years since my sister moved back from Alberta, and some key conversations that happened while still living there that referred to her paranoia etc. It is my greatest hope that this will bring her the help she needs. I know it is likely that my sister may not be just as she was, I just wish to see her in a state of wellness. I cannot be more thankful for your help.


Sincerely,
TaraLee

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AndrewBCSS
Site Admin
Posts: 1298
Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Relationship: Other
gender: male
Region: Lower Mainland BC
City or Region: Vancouver
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Re: older sister of a sister who is mentally ill

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 20 Nov 2011

There is a section on involuntary admission that will be helpful to read and possibly print out.
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org


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