When families are dealing with an individual member with First Episode Psychosis (FEP), they often feel terrified, powerless, and victimized.  It doesn’t help that those families first interaction with mental health professionals is often at the hospital emergency room or through police intervention.  Often when families interact with the professionals in charge of caring for their members, they get told to effectively “deal with it.”  Interventions are brief, intense, and often patronizing.

Families want to know more about what is going on in their members’ psychological help, but they don’t want to be talked down to.  They want to be partners’ in their members health, not barriers to it.  Historically, mothers especially have been considered the cause of schizophrenia and that sort of outlook is not only obsolete, but harmful.  As much as possible and reasonable, families should be included in treatment planning and process.

More than anything else, families need to hear that dealing with psychosis is “a marathon, not a sprint.”  It will take a period of often up two years following a single psychotic episode to fully recover.

Buttery, H. (2005). The long road home: families key to caring and recovery in first episode psychosis. The Journal of Addiction and Mental Health. 12(3).

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