Psychosis is a brain-related condition that leads to alterations in a person’s thoughts, perceptions, beliefs and/or behaviour. It can be associated with mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but it can also be triggered by other things like substance use or a brain injury.
The role of the school mental health professional
Psychosis occurs in approximately three percent of the population with an onset usually occurring during adolescence or young adulthood (age 13 – 30 years, but most commonly between the ages of 18 and 25). Though relatively rare amongst school-aged children and youth, it’s important that school mental health professionals recognize the signs and know where to turn for additional support.
Very briefly, in children and youth, signs of psychosis include
- hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not there)
- delusions (unusual, false beliefs)
- paranoia (like thinking others are watching them, or trying to hurt them)
- confusion or muddled thoughts
- disorganized speech
- actions that don’t make sense to others
- flat affect
- loss of interest or motivation
While psychosis can be a frightening condition, many people can make a full recovery. Early detection and intervention are critical.
For more information
The Early Psychosis Intervention Ontario Network (EPION) provides support, information, and care for people suffering from psychosis.
The province of British Columbia also has a robust site related to Early Psychosis Intervention.
Nova Scotia’s Because Your Mind Matters site may also be a helpful resource.
CMHA also provides a high-level summary about getting help early for psychosis on their website.
Infographics from EPION
These infographics developed by EPION are helpful visuals and quick reference guides to help support students affected by psychosis.
Have a question about this topic?
Contact us. We can review relevant research to help to answer your question. In cases where several requests focus on the same theme, we can arrange for a more comprehensive review which will be shared on the School Mental Health Ontario site