website developed by regional health authorities is bringing
together services and tools from across BC to help families and
young people experiencing psychosis access early assessment and
"Early intervention helps young people and families suffering from
psychosis to learn coping tools and help them on their journey
through life," said Health Minister Terry Lake. "These supports
follow through on our commitment to helping those living with mental
illness be fully engaged in their community and with their
"Being able to treat psychosis early is very important, since it
usually starts during a very critical stage of a young person's
life," says Laura Hansen, manager of mental health and addictions at
Vancouver Coastal Health. "Adolescents and young adults are just
starting to develop their own identity, form lasting relationships
and make serious plans for their careers and futures. It's important
for a successful recovery so they can have a healthy, productive
Brent Seal, a young man who has experienced psychosis, agrees. "You
can recover from psychosis, get back to functioning at a high level
and live a full life," he says. "The site will play an important
role in helping so many people do that."
www.earlypsychosis.ca, delivers psychosis information from
across the province right to the fingertips of youth and their
families. Users can find services available in the Vancouver
Coastal, Fraser, Island, Interior and Northern health authorities,
and can also access toolkits for dealing with psychosis, a family
coping booklet, and information on relapse prevention and stress
management, among others. Downloads are available in a variety of
languages including Punjabi, Urdu, Mandarin, Korean and German. In
addition to information for families, clients and community supports
like teachers and counsellors, the site also links to other mental
health sites and personal stories.
"Research shows that individuals who have experienced symptoms of
psychosis will struggle for up to two years before accessing
treatment," says Dr. Karen Tee, manager of child, youth and young
adult mental health and substance use services at Fraser Health.
"Part of that is due to the stigma of psychosis and a fear that it's
some sort of 'life sentence.' Our goal with this site was to give
people the resources to learn more about psychosis and to understand
that it is a treatable condition, just like any other health issue."
Approximately three per cent of people will experience a psychotic
episode at some stage in their life, with the first episode most
commonly occurring in adolescence or early adulthood. Psychosis is a
serious condition where the brain has difficulty differentiating
between fantasy and reality.
Parent Gail Windsor knows first-hand the importance of having strong
supports in place for those suffering from psychosis. "The new
website provides a wealth of current, pertinent information and
much-needed information for families struggling to understand what
is happening to their loved one and how they can best help them,"
"It's about being a supportive community for those touched by
psychosis," Dr. Tee adds. "We want to help people understand
psychosis, deal with the symptoms, work towards recovery, and
educate about the resources available. We know that early psychosis
intervention leads to fewer relapses, better social outcomes and
reduced hospital use."
The site was developed by the B.C. Early Psychosis Intervention
Advanced Practice Program, which is an ongoing collaboration between
the Vancouver Coastal, Fraser, Island and Northern health
authorities, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Family
Development, and Early Psychosis Intervention service providers
throughout the province.
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