Carers play an important role in supporting client adjustment and relapse prevention following a first psychotic episode. The caring experience however is a stressful and demanding one, and carers require support to develop coping strategies and sustain themselves in their role.
To evaluate a psychoeducation programme provided within a public adult mental health service, designed for the families of clients experiencing first-episode psychosis.
A pre- and post-test questionnaire was administered to quantitatively measure the participants’ changes in perceptions of their knowledge and understanding regarding mental illness and its treatment through attending the group. Qualitative items were included to ascertain other knowledge gained or benefits perceived and any critical feedback.
The programme significantly improved carers’ perceptions of their understanding of psychosis, recovery and relapse prevention. Additional feedback replicated previous findings that participants value support and feel less isolated through group attendance, gaining a sense of collective experience and the opportunity to share experiences and feel heard by peers.
The evaluation demonstrates the efficacy of such a group and the importance of public mental health services in providing family interventions in first-episode psychosis care.