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Schizophrenia carers need more support, says NICE

Relatives and carers of people with psychosis or schizophrenia need greater help and support from the NHS, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

In wide-ranging updated guidance on treating and managing the two mental conditions, NICE has put forward a number of new recommendations.

These include offering families and carers support from people who have recovered from psychosis or schizophrenia themselves.

About one in 100 people will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime, with many continuing to lead normal lives. While some people will recover completely from their symptoms, others will improve but may become ill again.

The same proportion of individuals will also have at least one episode of psychosis at some point during their life.

“There is considerable fear and stigma linked to psychosis and schizophrenia,” said Professor Mark Baker, centre for clinical practice director at NICE.

Mark Baker

Professor Mark Baker

“This is the second update of NICE’s very first clinical guideline. It sets out how best to treat and manage people with schizophrenia, from the first episode through to management of further acute episodes and longer term care.”

Since the original guideline was published in 2002 there has been a new emphasis on how to detect and treat the conditions earlier and also an increased focus on long-term recovery.

A key recommendation in the new guideline is referral from primary care if a person is distressed and has a decline in social functioning.

Referral is also advised if they have transient or attenuated psychotic symptoms, other experiences or behaviour suggestive of possible psychosis, or a first-degree relative with psychosis or schizophrenia.

NICE states anyone displaying these symptoms should be referred for assessment without delay to a specialist mental health service or an early intervention in psychosis service because they may be at increased risk of developing psychosis.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Can I say what an appalling choice of picture that is for this article. Quite frankly, as a mental health nurse I am shocked & saddened :-(

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • What are you playing at with the picture.

    please remove the photo.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • ditto to the above. I am currently looking after my son who is mentally unwell. He looks as 'normal', healthy & able to walk very well unaided & take care about his appearance. He would be mortified by this picture. We & many others are trying to DE stigmatise mental ill health!

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  • I am confused by the photo. to me it looks like the gates of a crematorium, and the person in white I am not sure whether it is a relative or friend in a plastic raincoat or a very unfashionable, 'unsmart' and unprofessional looking healthcare worker. why would a mental healthcare worker need such garb any way if this is what the photo is trying to depict.

    I agree with the above a photo which gives out a more positive, compassionate (since this seems to be the latest buzz word in nursing), humanistic and caring message would be more appropriate.

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