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Service users and carers’ experiences of a psychosis service


L. H. McKenzie
Whewell Building
Fylde Avenue
Institute for Health Research
Clinical Psychology
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YT


This paper presents the findings of a survey, which examined how people with psychosis and their carers had experienced local mental health services. The research was conducted prior to the establishment of an early intervention service and other service improvements in the region. The results suggest that the mental health service is improving overall for individuals with psychosis and their carers. The experiences of recent service users and carers seem more positive than those whose first contact with the services occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. Both service users and their carers report feeling largely supported by mental health professionals and voluntary support agencies, and feel included in the treatment approach. However, a number of important issues were highlighted. These include (i) the need for public education (which may help to reduce the delay which currently occurs between people seeking support and receiving treatment); (ii) improved access to alternative treatments, such as psychosocial therapies (in conjunction with pharmacological treatment); the provision of appropriate psychiatric facilities; and (iii) the inclusion of an early intervention treatment approach. The survey provides descriptive information from one NHS trust, which shows support for larger scale research findings and government recommendations.