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How to get help

What to do if somebody you know is experiencing psychosis?

If you are worried that  a friend, child/young person, relative, or an associate may be experiencing psychosis, there are ways you can help. The sooner someone receives help for psychosis, the better their long-term outcomes are likely to be.

The typical age of psychosis onset means that many people who experience a first episode of psychosis (FEP) will live or be in close contact with their families, who will often take on informal caring responsibilities.

People who have carer support can experience improved outcomes, including reduced relapsed rates and better engagement with mental health teams.

1. Encourage seeing a GP or CAMHS

This is the recommended first step to take. GPs will be able to refer your family member/friend directly for assessment at the local mental health trust.

People experiencing psychosis may not want to see their GP, as people with psychosis often lack insight into what they are experiencing and may not realise they are showing signs of unusual behaviour. It may help if you offer to accompany them to their GP.

If you’re 18 or under: There are other support networks, specific to your local area available to you if you’re under 18 too, speak to your teacher, tutor or a trusted peer who will be able to help point you in the right direction.

There is also a service dedicated to children and adolescent mental health services called CAMHS. If you’re old enough you can refer yourself to their services, otherwise a parent/carer, teacher, or GP can refer you to the services provided by CAMHS, which is designed specifically for children and young people. Young Minds has lots of information on CAMHS including questions to ask and what to expect.

Young Minds is the dedicated resource hub for children, young people, parents and carers to find support and information on mental health in those under 18.

Mind, a leading mental health charity offers helpful information on how to help others that need support.

2. Contact your local mental health trust

If someone won’t see their GP, then contact their local mental health trust for advice (use the interactive map of London below to find the right mental health trust).

Each mental health trust has slightly different ways in which  people can access their services, or be referred to for assessment.

3. Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services

Once someone who may be experiencing a first episode of psychosis has been referred by their GP or they have come into contact with a mental health team, they will then meet with the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) team. If they are found to be experiencing a first episode of psychosis, the EIP service will begin to work with them by allocating a care coordinator and offering a range of care approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

NICE also provide guidance and recommendations on treatment for a child or young person, who may be experiencing symptoms of psychosis. It is therefore equally as important to ensure they are assessed by a specialist team to tailor the most suitable treatment plan for them, and to manage the outcomes.

Trained health and social care workers can ensure that the child or young person continues with their education, are sensitive to their needs, and that a single multidisciplinary team provide the right treatment.

EIP services are specialist services that provide treatment and support for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis for the first time, and during the first three years following a first episode of psychosis.

The care they provide includes talking therapies like Family Intervention, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis (CBTp). They also provide medication, education and support for people’s carers, and education and employment support to help people get back to work and study. EIP teams also liaise with other services to help people improve their physical health and offer support through financial and housing challenges.

The support received will be based on the early conversations with the EIP team, and you and your team will create a plan for support according to your specific needs and goals at the time.