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Women & Psychosis: A Guide for Women and Their Families Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

7. Finding help

Women and Psychosis: A Guide for Women and Their Families

After a psychotic episode, you may want to forget about being ill and just stop treatment. It is advisable, though, to continue in follow-up. This will be a critical time for you to decide on the next steps in your life. Working with a doctor and other health care providers will help you address any problems that arise, and will help you plan to reach your goals. The doctor who treated your psychotic episode will arrange for you to see a doctor as an outpatient. A case manager or counsellor may also be arranged. You may wish to explore other resources, too. Below are some ideas about where to look for extra help.

A second opinion

At some point in your treatment, you may want a second opinion on a specific issue, such as your medication or whether to become pregnant. Most large cities have a hospital-based psychiatric program linked to a university. These programs are usually doing research. They have up-to-date information on issues such as new drugs, genetics and women’s mental health. Your doctor can arrange for you to consult with an expert. The Canadian Mental Health Association also lists psychiatrists who specialize in various illnesses. As well, you can contact self-help organizations, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Mood Disorders Society or the Schizophrenia Society. They can suggest experts in the field.

Case management and counselling

Working with a case manager or counsellor who collaborates with a family doctor or psychiatrist can be very helpful. This person will help you plan how to get back to work or school. The counsellor will ensure, too, that you have enough support. A case manager can also work with you and your family members to reduce stress and improve your coping skills.

If you don't have a case manager, ask your doctor to refer you to one. Most hospital programs for outpatients have mental health teams. These consist of social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists, as well as doctors. Commonly, community health centres also have a team of mental health care providers. Organizations offering community care may have services you could benefit from, too. If you are a student, your school will have counselling services. Some schools offer specialized services for students with mental health issues. Others may refer you to someone who is able to help you.


Organizations such as the Schizophrenia Society and the Mood Disorders Association offer a variety of services, including information meetings with guest speakers, support groups and newsletters. These organizations also advocate for better services and laws. Some hospitals offer self-help groups.

Specialized groups or counsellors

Specialized groups or counsellors address issues such as assertiveness, body image, relationships and trauma, and parenting. Many community-based women’s centres offer these services. So do local mental health associations, libraries and mental health clinics.

Alcohol and other drug treatment

Some hospitals and community agencies now offer programs for concurrent disorders. People with concurrent disorders have both a mental illness and a problem with alcohol or other drug use. Alcohol and other drug treatment centres are usually listed in the first pages of the phone book.

Pregnancy and medication information

Women who are considering pregnancy or are pregnant may want to consult the Motherisk program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario (Tel.: 416 813-6780; website: Motherisk advises pregnant women and health professionals about the possible risks to the fetus. Risks exist when the fetus is exposed to drugs, chemicals, infection and radiation.

Parenting supports

Parents of infants and small children may want one-to-one support and/or to join parenting groups. Public health departments and some community centres and hospitals offer these supports. Most services are free. When a child is at risk, a child welfare agency becomes involved to support the mother, her child and other family members.

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