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Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Explore the key issues related to caring for a relative with psychosis or schizophrenia, with this short, free online course.

52,321 enrolled on this course

Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Psychosis conditions, including schizophrenia, are treatable mental health problems that can affect anyone although very few people talk about the conditions and their impact on families. Millions of people across the globe find themselves thrust unexpectedly into a role providing support and care when a relative develops psychosis. Carers can play a major role in supporting their relative’s progress and recovery.

This four-week course will explore some of the key issues and questions relevant to a carer who is supporting a relative with psychosis such as:

  • Why is schizophrenia described as psychosis?
  • How can we best understand psychosis and its key symptoms such as hearing voices?
  • What are the links between cannabis use and developing psychosis?
  • Can psychosis affect physical health?
  • How do medications in psychosis work and what effects can they have?
  • In what ways are siblings of people with psychosis affected?
  • How can psychosis affect a carer’s health and their relationships?

This free online course will provide opportunities to share your views and experiences with carers from around the world. It will also include opportunities to consider how the recent Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic affects caregiving experiences and relationships.

You can find out more in Dr Juliana Onwumere’s post for the FutureLearn blog: “How online educational approaches can support the families of people with psychosis.”

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOSIS AND SCHIZOPHRENIA

    • WELCOME

      Before getting into the detail we will take some time to reflect on psychosis and schizophrenia. In this topic we will outline the week ahead and you will consider what you want to get out of the course.

    • UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOSIS

      By the end of this topic you will have an overview of psychosis, its symptoms and causes.

    • SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOSIS: HALLUCINATIONS

      Hallucinations can be one of the main symptoms of psychosis, yet they are not synonymous with mental health issues. Here we will explore what hallucinations are, when to seek treatment and how best to give support.

    • SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOSIS: DELUSIONS

      Delusions can be one of the main symptoms of psychosis but, like hallucinations, are not synonymous with mental health issues.

    • SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOSIS: NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS

      In this section we will look at what negative symptoms look like, their impact and possible treatments.

    • FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT

      Now that we’ve seen some professional viewpoints, let’s hear from someone with lived experience of psychosis.

    • SARS -CoV-2 (COVID-19) AND SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOSIS

      The global outbreak of COVID-19 and strategies adopted to reduce the risk of transmission have affected different groups of individuals in different ways. What do we know about how people living with psychosis have been affected?

    • WEEK 1 SUMMARY

      So, what have we learnt during the week?

  • Week 2

    CAUSES, MEDICATION AND TREATMENT

    • WELCOME TO WEEK 2

      Find out what is to come this week and reflect on some of the big questions we will ask.

    • CAUSES OF PSYCHOSIS: TRAUMA

      There are a number of factors that can lead to psychosis. In this section, we will focus specifically on trauma as an important cause.

    • CAUSES OF PSYCHOSIS: CANNABIS

      Research has identified a causal link between the use of cannabis and psychosis, but just how great is that risk and why are some more susceptible to the risk than others?

    • WHAT TREATMENTS AIM TO ACHIEVE: MEDICATIONS

      What do we know about the medications commonly used to treat psychosis, and what can a person with psychosis and carers expect from antipsychotic medication?

    • WHAT TREATMENTS AIM TO ACHIEVE: MANAGING MEDICATIONS

      Medication is prescribed with clear aims and outcomes in mind. This section will explore the truths and myths of medication, what roles carers may have in supporting a relative with medication and noticing some common side effects

    • WHAT TREATMENTS AIM TO ACHIEVE: TALKING TREATMENTS

      What are talking therapies and how do they treat psychosis?

    • WEEK 2 SUMMARY

      So, what are some of the things we covered in Week 2?

  • Week 3

    THE IMPACT OF CAREGIVING

    • WELCOME TO WEEK 3

      Week 3 is all about carers and caring. You’ll find out how providing care and support can affects you in different ways and, as before, there will be opportunities to share your own views and learn from the experiences of others.

    • THE IMPACT OF CAREGIVING

      In this topic we explore the impact that caring for a relative with psychosis can have on a carer's health and wellbeing and the range of emotional reactions.

    • FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS

      In this section we'll hear from three parents with experience of psychosis and of caregiving.

    • YOUNG PEOPLE AS CARERS

      Life can be especially demanding for a young person caring for a parent with psychosis. In this topic we'll explore some of the issues and needs of carers under 18 years old.

    • SIBLINGS AS CAREGIVERS

      We look at the experiences and challenges faced by a sibling of someone with psychosis, and the importance of their role.

    • PARTNERS AS CARERS

      People face a variety of possible issues if the person they are in a relationship with develops, or presents with, psychosis.

    • MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE CARER

      What are the needs of carers? Do they have needs of their own? Should they have needs of their own? This topic focuses on these areas.

    • SARS -CoV-2 (COVID-19): CAREGIVING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC

      Now lets turn our attention to caregiving experiences during COVID-19. How might these differ to usual times?

    • WEEK 3 SUMMARY

      A summary of what we have covered in Week 3.

  • Week 4

    SUPPORTING RECOVERY

    • WELCOME TO WEEK 4

      The final week of this course focuses on recovery and on the related issues of physical health including issues related to COVID-19, 'problem' behaviour and effective communication.

    • PSYCHOSIS AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

      Find out more about the main physical health issues faced by a person with psychosis, and strategies for how to improve physical health.

    • THE POSSIBILITY OF RECOVERY

      The issue of recovery in psychosis raises many questions, some of which we will explore in this topic. We will also be looking at whether there is a way to understand recovery that can also support and empower carers.

    • DEALING WITH PROBLEM BEHAVIOUR

      In this topic we'll explore some of the behaviours that carers find it hard to cope with when presented by a relative with psychosis. There will also be an opportunity to share coping strategies.

    • IMPROVING COMMUNICATION

      When a relative is experiencing psychosis symptoms it can be challenging for a carer to communicate as effectively as they would like. Here we explore some strategies for building effective communication.

    • COMMUNICATING ABOUT HEALTH

      Find out how to discuss healthy lifestyle choices more effectively with a relative with psychosis.

    • WEEK 4 SUMMARY

      A summary of what we have covered in week 4, and the course as a whole.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the key symptoms and causes of psychosis, the role of psychological and pharmacological treatments, and the meaning and process of recovery
  • Identify common physical health problems in psychosis and obstacles to implementing healthier lifestyle options
  • Describe the impact that psychosis can have on individuals in a caregiving role and strategies to support improved wellbeing
  • Discuss techniques for reducing communication difficulties in caregiving relationships

Who is the course for?

This course is open to anyone with an interest in psychosis and caregiving issues.

You may be interested in taking the course because:

  1. you know someone with psychosis, perhaps your child, partner, sibling, parent or friend and are providing support
  2. you are a professional working in a service or other mental healthcare organisation, with an interest in psychosis and families
  3. you have an interest in mental health problems.

No previous knowledge of psychosis or experience of caring is required to take the course although some medical terminology is used. There are optional, additional materials for those who want to explore the topics discussed beyond the core material, some of which are academic papers.

The course was originally co-initiated and co-funded by H. Lundbeck A/S. H. Lundbeck A/S did not have any influence on or input into the development of course content or materials, and is no longer involved.

Who will you learn with?

Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the National Psychosis Unit, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust.

Who developed the course?

King's College London

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

Endorsed by

endorsed by

EUFAMI - 20 years

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