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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Linda Everard
  • Nicholas Freemantle
  • Tim Amos
  • David Fowler
  • Jo Hodgekins
  • Peter Jones
  • Max Marshall
  • Vimal Sharma
  • John Larsen
  • Paul McCrone
  • Swaran Singh
  • Jo Smith
  • Maximillian Birchwood

Colleges, School and Institutes


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 FEP against the background of wider research into EIS, this paper explores relationships between carers' experiences and EIS. Method 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 user-focused engagements also emerge; they risk leaving carers' emotions unacknowledged and compounding an existing lack of help-seeking. 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?

Bibliographic note

© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-42
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015