Relatives and friends may not change much about the disease itself, but they can help those affected. You can e.g. carefully monitor whether the disease may be worsening and ensure that those affected get help quickly.
Wrong answer: "You only imagine that"
Above all, it is important to tolerate the potentially strange behaviors and thoughts tolerantly and with understanding. That may be difficult, but it makes little sense to try to talk anything out. If people with schizophrenia are afraid of things that do not exist, or if they hear voices, then sentences like "But there's nothing there, you just picture yourself" are out of place. Because those affected actually hear these voices, even if they do not exist for their environment.
Of course that does not mean that you should reinforce such thoughts with confirmation. First and foremost, try to be there and listen, so that your thoughts and concerns are neutral. If the situation requires it (menacing development, fears, acute crisis), you should consult the doctor or, if this fails, get professional help.
Authors: Dr. med. Julia Hofmann & Dr. med. med. Jörg Zorn