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First Episode Psychosis: An Information Guide Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Family Involvement - Issues and Concerns

First Episode Psychosis: An Information Guide

Many partners and families find the onset of psychosis extremely distressing and feel helpless and confused. Their involvement is important in the overall plan toward recovery. Family members can be an important part of the treatment team. However, it is also important that they take care or get help with their own concerns and distress. Family members can learn about the nature of the illness, and available treatment options available for their family member by working with the treatment team.

They can provide information about the person’s symptoms, how they developed, and how the person functioned before the illness. Family members can also receive guidance on issues such as how to relate to, and support, a relative who is ill. For example, it is best to communicate in a calm, clear manner, and to avoid overwhelming the ill relative with too much information. It is also important for family members to be aware that their relatives need time to recover and may not be able to fully engage in all activities of daily living right away. A structured approach to gradually taking on tasks and activities usually works best.

Many families find that they need to develop coping strategies and effective communication skills to help them support the ill family member. Individual family counselling, psychoeducation workshops and support groups can help develop these strategies and skills.

These groups and workshops can also provide the families themselves with ongoing emotional and practical support, as well as education about the illness. It is important that family members find a balance between supporting their recovering relative and finding time for themselves. This helps them prevent exhaustion and avoid becoming “burned out.”

In First Episode Psychosis: An Information Guide

  1. What is psychosis?
  2. The symptoms of psychosis
  3. The causes of psychosis
  4. The different types of psychosis
  5. Treatments for psychosis
  6. Family involvement — issues and concerns
  7. The process of recovery
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