Demystifying Psychosis: For Family Members


Description: This web based course is designed for family members of an individual who is experiencing a first episode of psychosis. It provides information on how family members become aware that their loved one is experiencing symptoms of psychosis, their reactions and strategies for helping, and the services that should be included in an effective program to address the family’s needs. It is the second web based course in the series. The first course, Early Intervention in Psychosis: A Primer, was intended for professionals working with teens and young adults.

Content Developed by: Kate Hardy, Clin.Psych.D., Stanford University School of Medicine; Darcy Gruttadaro, J.D. and Dawn Brown, National Alliance on Mental Illness; and Susan Gingerich, M.S.W., NAVIGATE Early Treatment Program.

Technical Assistance Material Developed for SAMHSA/CMHS under Contract Reference: HHSS283201200002I/Task Order No. HHSS28342002T

This curricula consists of three self-guided Modules that are intended to be viewed in order.

In this module, the viewer will be introduced to Jack, a young man who has experienced a first episode of psychosis, and his family. It illustrates how his family became aware of his problems, their initial confusion regarding how best to proceed, and strategies that they used to work together and successfully address this family challenge. BEGIN »

This module highlights the specific ways that psychosis can impact a family. It shows the importance of families staying engaged and offers a series of tips to help keep communication open. Building an effective team is important, and this involves both supporting Jack, as well as being attentive to everyone’s needs. Tips for effective teamwork are also included in Module 2. BEGIN »

In this module, viewers will learn about recommended treatments for individuals experiencing early psychosis, and how important it is for families to be part of the treatment. The members and roles of the treatment team will be reviewed, along with the services that they can provide to support both the person who is experiencing psychosis as well as other members of the family. BEGIN »

Additional Resources

Individuals who have taken the course and are interested in learning more about early psychosis and strategies for promoting recovery are encouraged to explore some of the hyperlinked resources listed below. Each contains valuable information, as well as references for additional material.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supported the development of an Inventory and Environmental Scan of Evidence Based Practices for Treating Persons in Early Stages of Serious Mental Disorders. This comprehensive informational resource includes: examples of coordinated care models focused on meeting the needs of persons with recent-onset illness (with a particular emphasis on psychotic disorders); information on individual evidence based practices that are common components of such models; a compilation of additional resources for providers, policymakers, families, and consumers on this topic; and brief narrative profiles for 10 specific coordinated care programs. A number of additional SAMHSA resources on first episode psychosis (e.g., fact sheets, issue briefs, brochures) are also available on-line.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) launched an Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) virtual resource center in 2015. The purpose of the EIP site is to provide reliable information for practitioners, policymakers, individuals, families, and communities in order to foster more widespread understanding, adoption and utilization of early intervention programming for psychosis. EIP is designed to provide an array of information through a consolidated, user-friendly site; and it is updated on a periodic basis.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a section on its website with helpful information and resources for individuals and families related to first episode psychosis.

The Prodrome and Early Psychosis Program Network (PEPPNET) acts as a forum to share information nationally about ongoing early psychosis initiatives. It aims to bring together individuals from diverse fields and backgrounds to forge national connections and address issues and topics relevant to early psychosis at local, state, and national levels. The website contains a variety of informational resources.

The Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA) website contains a variety of resources related to early stage psychosis, including information for families and young people.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides on-line resources about its Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative.