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Early Interv Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;3 Suppl 1:S22-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2009.00127.x.

Addressing the needs of carers during early psychosis.

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European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI), Leuven, Belgium.



To review the role and needs of family members and carers during early psychosis.


A selective literature review was conducted.


Carers of persons with schizophrenia are undeniably a highly valuable source of practical and emotional support for the person affected by the illness. The role of the carer can begin even before diagnosis, with family members helping bring the patient to the attention of medical services. The diagnosis itself can be a very difficult time for carers, with family members frequently experiencing stress, anxiety, guilt, depression and feelings of loss. Furthermore, family members themselves can feel the effects of stigmatization of mental illness. The aims of family interventions during early psychosis were therefore twofold: to reduce the level of distress experienced by carers and to assist them in their role in supporting patients towards remission and recovery. A number of recent studies support a role for family interventions in early psychosis. Despite their important role, carers frequently feel undervalued and unengaged by the health-care system. Carers value good communication, and the provision of adequate information about the illness, its treatment and accessing health-care services are key priorities.


Carers for people affected by schizophrenia often feel undervalued. During early psychosis, interventions aimed at the family can facilitate patient identification, improve the emotional well-being of family members and support carers in their unquestionably important role in promoting remission and recovery.

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