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Here are some tips to help you to look after your self whilst your friend or relative is having unusual experiences such as psychosis.

Try to make time to manage your own emotions and stress, and address practical issues, separately from helping your friend or relative. Make sure you take time for yourself otherwise you will struggle to support your relative or friend.

Different people find different things help them to relax and switch off. Here are a few suggestions. You could try having a relaxing bath, watching a good film, going for a walk, run or swim, going to the gym, playing sport, reading a book, meditation, relaxation techniques, going out with friends, going shopping, listening to music, listening to the radio.

Whatever works best for you, make sure that you have time for yourself, to relax and do the things that you enjoy. This will benefit your friend or relative as you won’t be able to support them if you’re struggling yourself.

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Supporting someone with mental health problems such as psychosis, can have quite an impact on practical things like, money, housing, work and space where you live. Especially if your friend/relative comes to live with you or stays more often. You can get advice on practical issues from the early intervention service, but also from other places such as the citizen’s advice bureau.

You can ask for a carers’ assessment through the NHS or EIP service to support your own needs.

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If there are tensions and stress within the family or the place where you live that are linked to your relative or friend’s mental health, you may be able get some specific family intervention work to help reduce this. This will help the whole family and can also reduce the risk that your relative (or friend) becomes less well again.

I think if you include the family as much as you can, I think they’re more likely to engage with the service if it’s more of a whole family-type approach, because you know, I can then see that, yes L’s doing a lot of good work for her and then I’ll encourage it more, if you see what I mean.

Parent of a young person with psychosis

It’s not uncommon for the stress of mental health problems and psychosis to impact on relatives and friends. Do make sure you get the support you need for yourself. Support might be informal from your own friends and family. Talk to the people around you who you trust. Find out about local carers support groups, that may be available through the NHS, the EIP service or through other organisations such as rethink or mind.

If you are worried about your own mental health you might find some of the self-help materials useful, for things like managing sleep, low mood, worry and anxiety. You can also access support for your own mental health by visiting your local GP practice.

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