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 SMH 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 SMH professionals recognize the signs and know where to turn for
Very briefly, in children and youth, signs of psychosis
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
actions that don’t make sense to others
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.
These infographics developed by EPION are helpful visuals and quick reference guides to help support students affected by psychosis.
Special Interest Group materials
Psychosis in Youth: What you need to Know
Presented by: Early
Psychosis Intervention Ontario Network, October 2014
Provides an overview of psychosis,
related myths and facts, signs to pay attention to and key messages. Included
are vignettes to support further case study discussions about supporting
students affected by psychosis.
If you are a school mental health professional registered
with a professional college and would like access to this material, please contact
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