A person with psychosis ‘loses touch with reality’: they may have disorganised thoughts, hallucinations or delusions and find it difficult to interact with others. In young people a psychotic illness many occur as a result of depression or experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Here are some early warning signs to watch out for.
Behavioural
Odd/agitated behaviour
Excessive writing
Poor hygiene
Abnormal activity level
Thinking and speech
Rapid speech
Irrational statements
Preoccupation with religion/the occult
Severe distractibility
Social
Sensitivity to being touched
Dropping out of activities
Unexpected aggression
Suspiciousness
Social withdrawal
Emotional
Inappropriate laughter
Inability to express joy
Feeling depressed
Euphoric moods
Reckless behaviour

Things you can do to help:

  • Discuss your plan of action with the school counsellor.
  • Refer to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for diagnosis, treatment, a school action plan and funding.
  • Reduce competitive stresses.
  • Have a pressure free time-out spot.
  • Find safe havens for students and staff.
  • Have clearly established crisis management procedures.
  • Support opportunities for patients to express talents.
  • Encourage family involvement in the treatment plan.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: Dr John Irvine, Healthed GENERATION NEXT: The Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People, Perth 2011