Family work is essential in all families where a member experiences serious mental health difficulties. It is likely to be even more relevant in early psychosis where many young people are still living with or are in regular contact with their families.
Early intervention services that support people who are experiencing the symptoms of psychosis for the first time are now available all over the UK, and are currently being established in the Republic of Ireland. Although services are run differently, depending on local need and geography, all aim to be readily accessible and to give young people and their families comprehensive help, treatment and support when they first become unwell. Teams usually remain in contact with the young person for 3-5 years and offer core interventions which include the provision of information to help the young person and their family make sense of what’s happening, cognitive behaviour therapy, structured family interventions, advice on employment or further education and medication, if needed.
Members of these Early Intervention teams are sometimes uncertain about the evidence for family work in early psychosis, or about how they can help families to cope with and adjust to what is happening in the family.
The Meriden Programme remains committed to providing training and support to EI services, and has run dedicated training courses tailored to these teams. These courses are well subscribed and receive excellent feedback from both participants and commissioners alike.
Early Intervention DVD
In 2009 the Meriden Programme released a training DVD entitled “Family Work in Early Psychosis”. This 5 disc set includes BFT training materials, examples of BFT being delivered with 2 separate families experiencing early psychosis and additional material relating to implementing family work in early psychosis services.
The Early Intervention in Psychosis IRIS Network supports the promotion of EI in psychosis. First formed to support the National EI Programme (2004-2010) this network brings together elected EI regional leads to share issues and solutions.
For further information regarding family work in Early Psychosis, please see our Reference list.