Mental health illness support network for PWWP

Mental health illness support network for People working with people

First aid for psychosis!

1. Ask about suicide

2. Listen-non judgeementally

3. Give reassurance and information

4. Encourage the person to get appropriate help

5. encourage self-help strategies

STEP 1: Ask about suicide

Suicide accounts for less than 1 percent of all deaths but nearly two thirds of them are linked to depression. Approximately 320 Welsh people of all ages and from all walks of life die by suicide each year. They leave behind friends, families and whole communities who can be deeply affected by the loss of their loved ones. A person can feel so overwhelmed and helpless that the future appears hopeless.They may think suicide is the only solution. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide, although not everyone who attempts suicide is depressed. If you think someone may be having suicide thoughts, work through the steps below:

How to assess the risk of attempted suicide

1. Engage the person in serious conversation about in the way they are feeling:

For example, you may ask if they are ‘ experiencing a crisis or if something distressing has occurred in their lives. Are they feeling hopeless or helpless?. Have they withdrawn from their usual activities? Have they started risk-talking behavior? Let them describe how and why they are feeling this way. Be aware of any cultural and social contex that may have an impact on why the person is feeling this way now. Particular look for signs that the person has experienced or is experiencing loss that they feel significantly lessens the value of their life.

2. Identify if the person is at risk. Ask them ‘ are you having thoughts of suicide ? And Listen non-judgementally

Contrary to common belief, this type of question does not encourage people to pursue suicidal behaviour. Rather, it signals that you care, that you realise they may be considering suicide and that you are ready to talk with them about it, The opportunity to discuss the feelings and emotions surrounding thoughts of suicide is often a graet relief to people. If the person says they having thoughts of suicide,give them time to say why they want to die. This can help them here their own reason out loud for the first time, and give room for ambivalence to emerge and be recognised.

3. Explore and asses how high the risk is. Try to gather information about how prepared they are to attempt suicide:

  • Have they they thought about how they would do it?
  • Have they collected the things they need to commit suicide?
  • Have they planned when they would do it?
  • Are there times when the pain feels unbearable?

4. Find out about their supports. If people feel totally alone and without any resources then they are greater risk of attempt of suicide;

Family and friends can be a very important source of support for a person with psychosis illness. A person is less likely to relapse if they have a good relationship with they family and friends.


  • Listening to the person without judging or being critical:
  • Keeping the person’s life as stress free as possible to reduce the chance of relapse;
  • Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help;
  • Provide the same support as they would for  a physically ill person

ASK THEM:

  • What resources do they have to support themselves?
  • Who do they think they could turned to for help?
  • Have they made arrangements for when their are dead? e.g (canceling g deliveries, sending pets away)

What to do if the person do not want help?

When a person is experiencing psychosis. he or she may lack insight into their illness and see no need to seek help. There is no easy solution if the person is unwilling to seek appropriate help. However, the following may be helpful;

  • Talk to other people who have been in a similar situation, for example at a  mental health carers’ support group;
  • Make an appointment for yourself with a GP or a mental health professional to talk about the problem;
GPs
  • Make an initial assessment and diagnosis;
  • Prescribe medication
  • Refer the person to the Community Mental Health team for a special assessment;
Psychiatrists;
Psychiatrists are medical specialist who treat health problems. A GP should refer a person with a suspected psychotic  illness to a Psychiatrists for diagnosis and expert advice and treatment.  A person experiencing severe psychosis may need a short stay in hospital to stabilise them.

Any communication of distress should be taken seriously:

5. Encourage self help strategies;

Many people with psychosis illness also have depression and/or anxiety.

The self help strategies recommended for depression and anxiety are also appropriate for people with schizophrenia or bipolar. However they are not to be used as the main source of treatment.

Self-help strategies are increasing being made available to people who experience psychosis. Organisations such as Hearing Voices network, Hafal, Mind MDF (The Bipolar Association) are good sources of information.

Support groups for people who experience psychosis and their families may be very helpful.

Self-help;

  • Relaxation methods to reduce tension.
  • Information
  • Regular exercise, sleep and healthy diet.
  • Avoiding overly stressful situations.
  • The use of support groups.

Drug treatments;

The use of drug treatment in psychosis can include anti-psychotic medication. Mood stabilising medication and anti-depressant.

If you believe a person is at risk in harming their self , call an emergency service, and do not leave them until other sources arrives.

1. How to help a suicidal person:

  • Ensure your own personal safety:
  • Do not get involved physically if the person is distressed and threatening:
  • Call for assistance:
  • Observe from a safe position, until help arrives:

2. Ensure the person is not left alone:

  • Stay with them if you think there is a big risk:
  • Ask them if they would like you to contact anyone:

3. Seek immediate help:

  • Refer to anyone trained in ASIST:
  • Phone their GP and ask for an emergency home visit:
  • Call 999
  • Call NHS Direct 24hr help line ( numbers on other pages)
  • Pass on any further information that you have gathered about the level of the persons risk:

4. If the person is consuming alcohol or drugs, try to discourage them from taking any more.

5. Try to ensure that the person does not have ready access to some means to take their life without putting your own safety in danger.

6. Encourage the person to talk:

  • Listen without judgement:
  • Be polite and respectful:
  • Do not deny the persons feelings:
  •  Do not try and give advice:

Don,t keep planned suicide a secret, even if they have asked you to, friendship can be mended later:


3 responses to “First aid for psychosis!

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