Signs and Symptoms
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects the functioning of the mind. A key symptoms of the condition is psychosis, when the individual struggles to differentiate what is real from what it not. This is often experienced as short episodes of intense symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking or irregular behaviour.
Not all people diagnosed with schizophrenia will experience psychosis. Other symptoms include reduced motivation, ability to express emotions, problems with memory, attentiveness or depression.
Schizophrenia can be caused by genetics, disruptions in cognitive development, substance abuse or traumatic experiences, particularly in childhood.
Stereotypes about schizophrenia assume people with the condition have split personalities or are violent however, this is not accurate.
It is important to understand that each person’s experiences are unique and the condition is treatable through medication and psychological therapies.
1 in 100 people or roughly 150,000 Australians
The Florey Institute
Affect on Daily Life at Work
» The impact will vary considerably based on the severity of the condition, the person’s circumstances or the triggers they may be experiencing at a given time.
» Conversation with your employee may be disjointed and they may struggle maintaining attention or motivation
» Your employee may avoid social interaction, demonstrate irrational paranoia or behaviour
» It is likely your employee is already familiar with
their personal triggers or behaviours that indicate
an oncoming episode. Communicate with them, familiarise yourself with these indicators so you can detect when they may need additional support.
» Evaluate how you can adapt the individual’s coping strategies into the workplace. E.g. isolated spaces
» Consider the environmental conditions that may negatively affect their condition E.g. loud noises
» Ensure any job expectations and deadlines are clear and that the employee is comfortable with these.
» Maintain positive and supportive communication.
For additional resources and support, visit SANE
Gaining a stable and suportive job at Benhome retirement village has helped Crystal overcome her schizophrenia and live a fulfilling life.
“I had really great support from my work mates and supervisor so that’s been a really great encouragement. I don’t really have an issue now with my original disability”
When she was first diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Crystal says it wasn’t people’s stereotypes about her condition that affected their perception of her but their reaction to her behaviour.
She urges employers who are considering hiring a person with a mental illness not to be discouraged. The person may need additional support or communication in the workplace but it can make all the difference and change a life.