Take control of psychosis: maintaining good mental health
If you employ someone who experiences psychosis
you can play an important role. Download our psychosis tips for employers and watch our
film: psychosis: how employers can help
If you experience psychosis and are referred
into services they will work with you to develop an individualised
plan around how to cope, reaching a shared understanding of the
experiences and learn what helps and what doesn't help.
Joining a local support group can be helpful. The Hearing Voices
Network, Bipolar UK, Mind and Rethink have good websites with links
to local resources, some of which run local groups.
There are lots of things that we can all do to look after our
mental health and many of these are helpful in recovery from
psychosis, staying healthy and reducing risk of further
This summer we are promoting geocaching as a fun way to get active
in the fresh air. AWP staff have been out hiding geocaches: could
you be the first to find all our DIYMH caches? It's easy to get
started - register for
free, download a free geocaching app to your phone, get out and
get caching! Our cache names all begin with 'DIYMH' and are
- Iron Acton in South Gloucestershire
- Horfield Common in Bristol
- Chippenham in Wiltshire
- Langley Burrell in Wiltshire
Other things that some people find helpful are:
Gardening. The combination of working outdoors
in fresh air and amongst nature, physical exercise, the slow pace
of growing things, the absorbing nature of gardening tasks and the
satisfaction in creating something positive all combine to make
gardening an excellent therapeutic activity. It reduces stress
levels and lifts mood. Gardening at an allotment site, at a
horticulture project or as part of a volunteer team at a large
garden can help you develop social contact and make new
Yoga. You can take part in yoga at any level
from simple breathing techniques to a strenuous physical workout.
For some people it is a spiritual practice, for others it is purely
physical. Either way, it has been shown to relax us and have a
positive impact on our mental health.
Meditation. This can be part of yoga or done on
its own and can be very short - just 30 seconds or a minute - or a
long as several hours. It's up to you. Look for a local meditation
class or try some of the many meditation techniques available
Mindfulness. This has similarities with some
meditation and yoga techniques. There are many mindfulness groups,
books and websites and exercises can be as simple as focusing on
breathing or looking at the sky for a few seconds, colouring, or
repeating a particular phrase to yourself.
Walking. Getting out into the woods or onto the
hills can help you to forget, for a short time as least, all of
Singing. Singing is a great way to release pent
up frustration and lift mood. It is a physical activity that has a
powerful emotional effect and psychological benefit. Sing your
heart out in the shower, in the car or for an added social benefit,
join a community choir. They come in all shapes and sizes from
traditional church choirs and classical choral societies to barber
shop groups, gospel and rock choirs. And it doesn't matter how well
or badly you think you can sing.
Cooking. What we eat can have a significant
impact on our mental as well as our physical health. For example it
is now known that too much sugar can trigger anxiety - and severe
anxiety can be a trigger for psychosis. So how about taking up
cooking to help you focus on eating healthy, delicious and
satisfying food. The process of preparing, cooking and presenting
food can be absorbing and therapeutic in itself and to get you
started you could do a one-off course or join a regular class.
Crafting. Making things can be therapeutic, is
immensely satisfying and can be good for our self-esteem. You could
take up knitting, sewing, paper crafts or sketching as a hobby. Or
as a more radical suggestion, if you are experiencing work-related
stress and anxiety in your current job and are looking for a
change, how about a traditional craft - dry stone walling,
hedge-laying, lime-plastering, coppicing or green woodworking - as
a career change?
This is not an exhaustive list and services will try to support
people into activities that reinforce or build upon current/new
Back to Life, Back to Normality: Cognitive Therapy,
Recovery and Psychosis by Douglas Turkington et al.
(Cambridge University Press, 2009) This is a self-help
guide for people who have psychotic symptoms and their carers. It
helps readers use cognitive therapy techniques to control their
symptoms and delay or prevent becoming unwell again.
psychosis website from Canada