Are you experiencing, or have you experienced psychosis?

Firstly, welcome, haere mai. By being here you are already taking steps towards recovery and wellbeing. We know that experiencing psychosis can be really intense and even frightening at times, and that starting to move through these experiences and back into life again can be really daunting. We want to say, you are not on your own! It is tough, yes, but there is also hope. People can and do manage to find ways of getting through or learning to live with the symptoms of psychosis, and live the life that they want to live, despite these experiences. Some people even find that they make different choices in life as a result, and that sometimes (yes really!) things can end up feeling better than they did before.

We know that the internet contains loads and loads of information about psychosis, and sorting out the good stuff from the bad stuff is quite hard. The Talking Minds website is a good source of information and there is also a useful toolkit for dealing with psychosis here which covers loads of different things that can be helpful for getting through psychosis and moving forward in your recovery.

Click here for some more suggested links, if you want to get more info about psychosis, or here if you want to hear from other people who have gone through some similar experiences.

For Māori, Wairua experiences and Matakite can present in a similar way to symptoms of psychosis. For more information about Matakite and Wairua experiences click here.

If you are interested in sharing your experiences of psychosis and journey through this, towards wellbeing, then we would really love to hear from you. We are putting together a book called ‘Our Stories’, which will highlight the experiences of psychosis and recovery of young people in NZ. You can find out more information about the project and how to get involved here.

We’ll leave you with a few words from some other young people who have been through psychosis and are getting back into life again:

Are you supporting a friend or family member experiencing psychosis?

We understand the impact of having a friend or family member develop psychosis. In Early Intervention services we try to work closely with families when we can. This is not always possible, as sometimes the young person experiencing psychosis may not wish for their families to be involved. This can be for a whole range of reasons, and sometimes because of the nature of psychosis itself, e.g. symptoms of paranoia. However, EI services will try to encourage young people to involve their families in their support.

We understand how stressful and confusing it can be when psychosis affects a family. Click here for further information about first episode psychosis, and here for some links to personal and family experiences of psychosis. Orygen, a service in Australia, also provide some useful information sheets available here. There is also a useful book for families on promoting recovery from first episode psychosis which can be found here.

It is also important that family members have a chance to consider the support they may need for themselves, in order to keep providing the essential support needed for their family member. Here are some ideas about where families and friends can get support:

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The Canadian Mental Health Association has developed a sibling resource guide intended to provide information and support to teens and young adults who have a brother or sister experiencing psychosis.

There is also a useful video created in Australia which is designed for older children (age 10+) and young adults who have a parent or other family member affected by psychosis here.

Are you a GP or other health or social care provider trying to refer someone experiencing psychosis to services?

There are a number of dedicated Early Intervention in Psychosis Services in NZ. All have slightly different ways of working and referral criteria depends on the specific service. However, all follow the general model of Early Intervention in Psychosis, which is an international approach to the treatment of young adults and adolescents presenting with their first episode of psychosis. This is an evidence-based programme of multi-disciplinary interventions, offered in the ‘critical period’ for achieving the best recovery outcomes following the emergence of psychosis, usually for 2-3 years. Some services may also offer support for young people who are at high risk of developing psychosis, although these kinds of supports are often more limited. Early Intervention in Psychosis is an evidence-based, international treatment model. You can find more information about the UK standards for EIP here and the Australian guidelines for early psychosis here.

Information about accessing specific NZ EI services, including their referral criteria can be found here. Unfortunately not all areas have a dedicated EI team, and in those instances support is usually provided through general mental health services.

Further information and links about psychosis can be found at the NZ Health Navigator website and support options can be found at the Healthpoint website.

Young people and families/whanau can be directed to our NZEIPS website and/or the Talking Minds website to find out more information about psychosis and Early Intervention services.

We also recommend the Attitude TV documentary called “In My Mind: Psychosis” which was made with some young adults in Auckland who talk about their experiences of psychosis and recovery.

There are some useful resources that have been produced by Australian EI services, which can be useful for referrers themselves and/or to provide to young people or families who are affected by a first episode or suspected first episode of psychosis, in particular the resources by Orygen and Headspace.

Are you working with young people who have experienced a first episode of psychosis?

If you’re based in NZ and working with young people who experience psychosis then you’re in the right place! The NZEIPS is an organisation which is keen to support and network with all kinds of workers who support people with psychosis. Whether you’re in a dedicated EI team, or a sole worker in a general mental health team, in a DHB service or an NGO, and whatever type of work you do, we are keen to connect with you. You can find out more about joining NZEIPS here. We are free to join, and by accessing our members’ area you can find additional resources to help you in your work, connect with other practitioners through our online forum, and get information about upcoming events such as the biennial EI Training Forum.