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HealthInfo Canterbury

Support for families & friends of people with psychosis

If you are close to someone with a psychotic disorder the way you support them will be very important in their recovery. When they are unwell they may not realise that what they think and believe is not real, and that they are unwell. This can leave them (and anyone who depends on them) at risk.

It can be challenging to care for a loved one who is unwell but doesn't want to accept your help. It is normal to feel guilty or disloyal in this situation. However, remember that your loved one is not thinking properly, they are vulnerable to harm right now, and when they are well again they are likely to thank you for getting involved.

Who can help?

General practice team

Call or make an appointment with the person's GP or practice nurse to talk about your concerns. If your friend or family member has become unwell, their GP can get them assessed by a mental health team.

Canterbury DHB Specialist Mental Health Service

This is the major supplier of mental health services in Canterbury for those up to 65 years old. It includes the Child, Adolescent & Family Service for children and teenagers up to the age of 18, Totara House for young people aged 18 to 30, and Adult General Mental Health Services. You can find out more about the service on this page.

The Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, Totara House, has a family and whānau support group for the family of young people aged from 18 to 30 who are having a first episode of psychosis. If your family member is under the care of Totara House you may be able to join this group.

You can contact the Mental Health Service directly if you are worried about the safety and health of someone who may be having a psychotic episode. Phone 0800‑920‑092 for Christchurch, or 0800‑222‑955 for Ashburton.

Canterbury DHB Older Person's Health Specialist Service

This is the major supplier of services, including mental health services, for Canterbury people older than 65. The Older Person's Mental Health Service was formerly known as Psychiatric Services for the Elderly.

Community agencies

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Psychosis & young people

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by consultant psychiatrist, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed October 2016.


Page reference: 148733

Review key: HIPSY-124133