Raising a Child with Schizophrenia

In the first episode of the Meet the Parents series Helen Wills Talks to Gill Mann about the death of her son Sam from Schizophrenia.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition related to psychosis. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have episodes of psychosis, where they experience a different reality to others around them. They may have hallucinations, delusion, or hear voices.

Who is Gill Mann?

Gill Mann is a psychotherapist and author. She started her working life as a lawyer but finally was brave enough to follow her heart and re-train as a therapist. She has worked within the NHS, a university counselling service and in private practice.

Writing has always been Gill’s other passion but in 2014 it became a lifeline, when she learned that her son, Sam had died while travelling overseas.

For two years she kept a journal, writing about him and her grieving. She found herself addressing Sam too -there was so much still to say. When another bereaved mother read Gill’s journal,she urged her to publish it, saying it had made her feel much less alone.

Gill’s memoir, A Song Inside, was published by Retreat West Books in July 2020.

We talk about:

  • So many people live with schizophrenia very bravely, as the medications to manage it can have debilitating side effects
  • Around half of people with schizophrenia don't have an awareness that there's anything wrong, which can make treatment even more distressing, for themselves and for the people who love them.
  • Managing grief after a diagnosis is important. Gill says you need to allow yourself to feel the pain, but also acknowledge the good things that still are
  • Conditions don't define a person. We need to look beyond a person's illness to see the person they are alongside it.

Find out more about the book

Where to get support for schizophrenia and psychosis

More teenage parenting tips from Helen Wills:

Helen wills is a teen mental health podcaster and blogger at Actually Mummy a resource for midlife parents of teens.

Thank you for listening! Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear new episodes. If you have a suggestion for the podcast please email teenagekickspodcast@gmail.com.

There are already stories from fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.

You can find more from Helen Wills on parenting teenagers on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.

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Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.

Podcast produced by James Ede at Be Heard production.