If you think a child or young person is experiencing psychosis it is very important to get professional help quickly, via the GP. You can go without the child if they do not want to come or do not think they have a problem. It can be helpful to write down a list of reasons you think they might have psychosis, and any incidents or stress factors.
If your child is under 18, your GP may decide your child needs to be referred to Child and Adolesent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for an assessment of their mental health and to get some support. Alternatively, if there is an early intervention team in your local area, the GP may make a referral to this service. These are teams of healthcare professionals set up specifically to work with people who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. Some early intervention teams may only focus on a certain age range, such as people who are 14 to 35 years old.
If your child is over 18 they will need to ask for the help themselves, by requesting a referral to Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS), or to the early intervention service described above.
If your child’s psychotic symptoms are putting themselves or other people in danger, you may need to call the emergency services for safety reasons. You can also take your child to the local A&E department and ask for an emergency psychiatric assessment. Involving the emergency services can be difficult and upsetting, but it may be the only way of keeping safe and making sure your child gets some help.
It may be decided that the best thing to do is to admit your child to hospital for assessment or treatment under the Mental Health Act.
If your child is experiencing psychosis, they will usually be offered antipsychotic medication to help with their symptoms. This medication needs to be taken regularly and may have side effects so it is important to talk to medical staff if you are worried about the medication.
Talking therapy is often offered to help with the emotional effects of psychosis, this may be counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy. You and other family members may be offered support to help understand their difficulties and support them.
It is possible to recover from a psychotic episode and go on to be well and carry on with work, studies and family life, as long as the person has the right support and is alert to the signs of psychosis.