Focus on mental health for Dearne youngsters

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A conference held at Rotherham’s New York Stadium to alert local organisations to the help available to young psychosis suffers in the Dearne, was attended by Mayor of Rotherham Councillor John Foden, and the Mayoress of Rotherham Kath Foden.

The Rotherham v Psychosis conference was organised by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust for professionals outside of mental health services, who have regular contact with young people, to raise awareness of the early signs of psychosis and highlight the importance of getting help early.

Psychosis is the term used for a set of symptoms that can lead to serious mental illness, when a person’s thoughts can be disturbed to the point that they lose touch with reality. It can develop after a stressful life event, such as losing a close friend or relative, and can also be the result of a physical illness (such as a severe infection) or the use of illegal drugs.

Conference organiser, David McMullan, Principal Practitioner in the RDaSH Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) Service said: “Psychosis can occur in young people in their teens or early 20s. This is a critical development stage in a young person’s life, which makes it very frightening for both the sufferer and their family.

“The sufferer may encounter hallucinations, be worried or suspicious about other people, or have delusional thoughts that there is a plot to harm them. The most common experience is hearing voices that other people don’t hear, but sufferers may also see, hear or smell things that others don’t.”

He added: “We invited representatives from schools, colleges, emergency services and other local organisations to come along and hear first-hand about how psychosis affects people’s lives, and about the service we offer in Rotherham to help them overcome their illness.

“We hope the conference has helped us develop partnerships with these key agencies to ensure that anyone unfortunate enough to develop psychosis will have the best possible chance of moving towards a full recovery.”

The RDaSH Rotherham EIP Service works closely with young people aged 14 and above - and their families - who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. The team of trained professionals provide counselling, support groups and practical help with managing medication, as well as advice on keeping healthy and eating the right food to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Anyone who has concerns that someone may be experiencing psychosis, including the person themselves, can contact the EIP Service for advice by ringing (01709) 447446.

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