Help - my 15 year old son has told me that he has been hearing voices. This started a couple of months ago and has happened several times for a couple of minutes at a time. The voice tells him that his friends don't like him.
He is outgoing, sporty and has a busy social life. I am so worried that this is the start of a mental illness but he refuses to see out GP.
He is a minor and you are his parent so you have the right and duty to take him to the GP and make sure he is checked out. The sooner you do this, the better the outcome, because if it turns out he has schizophrenia, the longer he goes without treatment the illness will worsen and get more severe. It will turn out to be impossible to manage as well as he could have if he received immediate treatment.
What your son is willing to do is not your concern. He is 15 and under your care.
So get him to the GP.
Besides, any teenager should be routinely getting yearly check-ups with a doctor, so if he hasn't has a physical in awhile, this is the perfect opportunity to schedule an appointment. The GP can then screen him for any mental health issues.
You could possibly take away his privileges or ground him if he doesn't go with you to see the GP. To make this as non-threatening as possible, let him know that what he's going though a lot of other people have gone through. Tell him you'd rather be safe than sorry. He might fear the stigma from his friends if they find out he has schizophrenia or another mental illness. You could suggest that if what happens to him now got any worse it might solidify this impression and that if he gets help while this is manageable, he will have an easier time of it and be able to maintain his active social life.
The truth is you cannot wait months and months if someone is hearing voices. If this starts to disrupt his life, he will no longer have friends and no longer have a social life.
So do what you have to do.
I also suggest that you yourself talk to the GP in advance about what's going on so he or she isn't relying only on your son's account of what's going on.
That sentence I wrote might not have been clear in the beginning of my first response.
What I meant to say: the longer one waits to get treated with medication, the harder it will be to function. Early intervention is seen by leading schizophrenia psychiatrists and researchers as the best defense against disability.