Families initially feel shocked, confused and saddened when their young family member develops psychosis. Some families are relieved when they learn of the diagnosis as it provides an explanation for the unusual behaviours they have seen in their young family member. Because these disorders were misunderstood for a long time, some families feel responsible for their young person developing psychosis and wonder what they did wrong. Psychosis is not caused by parenting, or by other familial relationships. You didn’t create the disorder but, as a parent or family member, you can have a significant role in helping your loved one achieve the best possible outcome.
In order to be able to help support your family member, you need to first make sure that you are taking care of yourself and getting the support that you need.
Here are some tips:
- Recognize your stress level and engage in stress management, for example: follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, try to get enough sleep.
- Continue to enjoy activities and hobbies. Take time out for yourself
- Continue to connect with your friends and family. Let them support you and help ease the burden
- Seek out education and support groups through the EPI program or mental health service that you are involved with. Other organizations such as B.C. Schizophrenia Society and the Mood Disorders Association of B.C. provide support, advocacy and education to family members.