The following is posted here with permission of the Vancouver Richmond Early Psychosis Intervention Program www.hopevancouver.com Please see the following link for a printable version: Supporting Students with Psychosis Return to School
Dispel myths and stigma
- Likelihood of violence is not greater in a student with psychosis.
- Keep hurtful words like “psycho” or “crazy” out of the classroom.
Remember that brain diseases cause psychosis
- Difficulties learning and socializing are often because of illness, rather than poor character, attitude, or parenting.
- Motivation, thinking, fitting in, confidence, and spontaneity are all affected
- Improvement will be gradual, with temporary set-backs.
- Allow for difficulties with concentration and thinking
- Reduce homework demands if possible, especially initially.
- Provide a quiet room and/or more time for exams.
- Allow the student enough time to respond to questions or instructions.
- Use varied instructional techniques and modalities.
- Modify schedules, if possible, to allow for 1 or more study blocks.
- Find a low-stimulation â€˜safe placeâ€™ where the student can take breaks.
- Strike a balance between encouraging the student to stay in the classroom and also providing a refuge if he or she is very overwhelmed or anxious.
Consider the effect of medications
- Most students will take psychiatric medications that are very helpful.
- Medication side-effects are often troublesome, usually lessening with time.
- Using gum or hard candy can help with dry mouth side-effects.
- Drowsiness may not be from late nights or lack of interest, but from side-effects. Suggest the student/family talk to their doctor if extreme drowsiness lasts for more than a few weeks.
- Have a designated staff person, such as a counsellor or youth worker, check in with the student; do not expect the student to take the initiative.
- Anticipate that the student may be embarrassed about psychosis.
- Remind the student that he or she does not need to discuss the psychosis experience with everyone who asks; help the student with what to say to maintain privacy.
- Suggest that the student confide in trusted friends, if comfortable.