• Layers of listening: qualitative analysis of the impact of early intervention services for first-episode psychosis on carers’ experiences

      Anna, Lavis,; Lester, Helen; Everard, Linda; Freemantle, Nick; Amos, Tim; Fowler, David; Hodgekins, Jo; Jones, Peter B.; Marshall, Max; Sharma, Vimal; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2015-08)
      Background: Early Intervention Services (EIS) comprise low-stigma youth-friendly mental health teams for young people undergoing first-episode psychosis (FEP). Engaging with the family of the young person is central to EIS policy and practice. Aims: By analysing carers’ accounts of their daily lives and affective challenges during a relative’s first-episode psychosis against the background of wider research into Early Intervention Services, this paper explores relationships between carers’ experiences and EIS. Methods: Semi-structured longitudinal interviews with 80 carers of young people with FEP treated through English EIS. Results: Our data suggest that EIS successfully aid carers to support their relatives, particularly through the provision of knowledge about psychosis and medications. However, paradoxical ramifications of these service user-focused engagements also emerge; they risk leaving carers’ emotions unacknowledged and compounding an existing lack of helpseeking. Conclusions: By focusing on EIS’s engagements with carers, this paper draws attention to an urgent broader question; as a continuing emphasis on care outside the clinic space places family members at the heart of the care of those with severe mental illness, we ask: who can, and should, support carers, and in what ways?