We know that it can be very stressful if a friend or family member doesn’t seem quite right, or are having unusual experiences that are difficult to make sense of.

Sometimes difficulties seem to come on very suddenly, other times there is a long and slow build up, which makes it difficult to figure out what is just ‘teenage’ behaviour and what might be signs of something more going on.

We also know that families can struggle to get access to services if their family member does not think there is anything wrong, or if they are unwilling to go to the GP to discuss their experiences.

Click here for what to do if you need urgent help.

Click here to find out about the Early Intervention Team that covers your area.

Ideally we hope that people can get help as early as possible, as the earlier the intervention someone receives for symptoms of psychosis, the quicker their recovery can be.

‘Something’s not quite right’ prompt sheet

Available to download here is our ‘Something’s not quite right’ prompt sheet which can be helpful to fill in, if you are experiencing some difficulties or worried about someone else, and use this when you visit your GP to help discuss the concerns and request further mental health assessment.

This sheet lists some of the common early signs of psychosis and can help to identify when there may be something more going on, or the person may be at risk of developing psychosis. However, this is not a diagnostic tool, and just because somebody experiences some of the items does not mean they are experiencing psychosis, and vice versa, if they do not endorse the items on this sheet it does not mean that they don’t need any support.

Support for families/whānau and friends

Supporting someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties can be a stressful and upsetting time. When a friend or relative is experiencing distress if may be hard to think about your own needs. This is understandable and common, and many family members put their energy into helping their loved one and hold the view “if they’re ok, we’re ok”. However, it is also really important to put time aside for yourself and think about what support needs you have as well.

“When you’re caring, everyone’s focus is on the person who’s ill, so you as an individual can get lost… You are so busy keeping the world on an even keel that you forget to look after yourself… Unless you look after yourself you won’t be in a fit state to help anyone else.”

Every Pebble Counts

Click here if you want more information about psychosis, here for personal and family member stories about psychosis and here for more information about the support available for friends and families supporting a loved one experiencing psychosis.