Most people are able to return to school or work after experiencing a psychosis. Some people are able to continue at work or school while in treatment, others need to take some time out to recover. Most Early Psychosis programs have counselors that work with people to support their goals.
Getting back to school
It is important to set realistic goals for returning to school. Reviewing previous academic records and accomplishments is a starting point. Choosing classes and activities that enhance the person’s skills and interests can also be a way to help ease the process. Starting part-time rather than jumping in full time is another option to consider.
Secondary school counselors work with students to help them be successful in their learning and post secondary schools have counselors/advsiors who can support to achieve their academic goals.
The person and/or family should meet with the school counselor or academic advisor to develop a plan for returning to school. If the counsellor/advisor is not familiar with psychosis, it can be helpful to educate them about psychosis and how it has impacted the person’s abilities. Having a note from the physician, or perhaps giving written permission for the teacher/counsellor to talk to the person’s EPI clinician or physician would help.
Returning to work
It is important to set realistic goals for returning to work. Perhaps starting back part-time would be one way of easing into it. For some, volunteer work is a good first step.
Help may be needed to explore career/job options for clients who have not had much work experience. A referral to an occupational therapist (if available) can help. Occupational therapy explores objectives and interests. Skill-oriented assessments can be help to a person’s strengths and challenges in a work setting.
Work BC Centres can help connect an individual with employment opportunities in their community. At the Work BC Centre, an individual will be connected with a Vocational Counselor, who helps individuals find employment in the fields of work they are most interested in. The Vocational Counselor also helps with creating or updating resumes or cover letters if needed. Work BC provides employment opportunities for both part time and full time positions.
Returning to a job after a medical leave
Many employers know very little about mental health issues and may hold inaccurate ideas. Educating your employer and other staff may be important in some work settings but may not be a good idea in other settings. If you are returning to your job after a leave, you should discuss what is best to do with your clinician and/or EPI treatment team first. Practicing what to say and having a physician’s note may help, or perhaps having a professional (like your clinician) come in could be helpful.