Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Free Online Course - 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.
About the course

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 two-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.

1 Like

I’m taking this now. Thanks for the link. I’m learning some new techniques and networking with a variety of carers.

It just started today didn’t it? Can other people still join? How long is it?

I have just managed to join(was curious to see if it was still possible) but doubt I will use as not a carer.
It says : FREE online course

Duration: 2 weeks

3 hours pw

Certificates available

Yes - it seems its an “automated” course to a large degree. Videos, etc.

But - it looks good. I recommend people check it out. Here is the transcript for part of the intro video:

Welcome to this course on caring for people with psychosis and schizophrenia. Having a support network is very important for a person living with psychosis. It plays a critical role in their progress and recovery. Close family and friends such as parents, partners, siblings, children often take on this caring role. They usually have a lot of questions about psychosis that they need answered. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to discuss some of the main issues around caring for people with psychosis and schizophrenia. Let’s hear from the academic team about the big questions they help us to explore. Psychosis is not all biological or not all psychological. But there’s an interaction.

And therefore, it’s important in treating somebody with psychosis that you deal with all the different aspects of the problem. Why does the experience feel so real? When we’ve examined patients when they’ve been able to come into a brain-scanning device, an MRI scanner, we can see that the hearing parts of the brain are active. We know people who have had lots of trauma exposure, particularly in early life, are more likely to develop psychosis. Symptom groups of PTSD and psychosis can look quite similar. And people can often present with both, which can cause difficulty, sometimes, in terms of diagnosis and thinking about best treatment. A lot of people don’t realise that mental health conditions are also physical health conditions.

The two go hand-in-hand. Most people with a psychotic illness which is longstanding or likely to be longstanding will need to take an antipsychotic for a prolonged period. The light at the end of the tunnel for the drug treatments of psychosis is clozapine, but we still don’t know quite enough about it to realise what it is we’re looking at that’s special about it. If you’re supporting someone with psychosis and schizophrenia, we hope this course helps to improve your confidence in the different things that you do. That confidence might come from learning new facts and information, from a fresh perspective on your experiences, from knowing what questions and support to ask for, or from contact with other carers with a similar experiences.

If you’re not caring for someone with psychosis at the moment, you might be wondering, is this course really for me? Well, we designed the course with carers in mind. But we also considered what would be relevant for anyone interested in psychosis and schizophrenia conditions and families, or for those working in a service or mental health organisation. You’ll find a breakdown of the course content after this video. But in the first week of the course, we’ll explore how can we best understand psychosis and its causes, the common symptoms, including hallucinations, and what they’re like to experience. How can we treat psychosis? And what should we expect from those treatments?

We hope you enjoy the course and get everything that you want from it. Thanks for taking part.

Sign up here:

I’m taking it because someone posted about it on this forum awhile ago. It’s from the UK where there are massively better services than the US. People from all around the world are taking the course.

Seems like you could start anytime as it’s self-directed and there are no real time lectures or chats. Plus, they said it will be offered again.

I emailed this to my brother and step mom. I should also tell dad about it, because my step mom suffers from severe anxiety and depression. I feel like there is a loss of reality in severe depression/anxiety, so dad should take it too.

Criticism of the trauma aspects of the course-

I am taking the course and I did not interpret their trauma portion in precisely the blog’s manner. The course states trauma as a possible contributing factor for a percentage of people who develop psychosis. Same with cannabis.

I have complex PTSD with a dissociative disorder (not dissociative identity, but fugue states [for a time], derealization, depersonalization) that was initially diagnosed as “mild schizophrenia” when I was young, so I have been trying to understand the distinctions. I also have depression, anxiety, and OCD…

metime, my depression has led to delusions at times, so you are right to recommend to your father. I had lots of visual hallucinations for years and these are currently attributed to PTSD by my provider. So, I believe it’s important to make the distinctions for treatment. Living with and being around someone who does have sz diagnosis, I can see the diverse ways we are debilitated by very different disorders, and we share some similarities.

Anyway, I AGREE WITH THE BLOG that it is not a good idea to delve into childhood trauma with people in active psychosis or anyone who doesn’t want to for any reason. Anecdotally, the EMDR intervention seemed particularly difficult for my family member with sz when he was in the prodrome. I don’t think any traumatized person should delve into the traumas without a huge amount of support and personal willingness/ conscious choice.

With the course, like the blog writer, I am also having a hard time with the lack of source material. On the plus side, the course is free, has lots of participants with different opinions, is geared to destigmatize the illnesses, and easy to navigate.

Probably the biggest trauma I had was bullying by my peers. Whether that pushed me into psychosis?/serious mental illness out of the blue or whether the bullying was caused by negative reactions to already odd/ latent psychotic behaviour is debatable.

Yes, causes of illness are complex and unknown, “debatable” as you say. Trauma definitely does not help.

so is there a course to study or just to conversate with others ?

Thanks for flagging this course up. Will see if I can find the time to do it