Family/Whānau Support Group

Why have this group ?

It can be very distressing when someone close to you experiences a psychotic episode. We recognise that psychosis has a major impact on the family, and it can be a lonely time for family members.

Families often don't know any other people in similar situations, and want an opportunity to meet others who might be having similar experiences. The way in which family members respond to psychosis is influenced by the kind of knowledge they have about psychosis, and sometimes they have difficulty getting the information they want, or sufficient opportunities to talk with Mental Health workers.

The Totara House team is keen to support families who have a young person experiencing, or recovering from, a psychotic episode.

In addition to individual family support from a Case Manager and/or Family Support Worker, group education and support programmes significantly reduce levels of distress and enhance families' coping resources.

What happens at this group?

The Family/Whānau Support Group is structured over 4 sessions. It includes information and discussion on:

  • Psychosis - possible causes, symptoms, and treatment

  • A video of a young man telling his story of psychosis

  • The role of alcohol and illicit drugs

  • The impact of psychosis on normal developmental processes

  • Recovery - especially the impact on the family

  • Setting limits and managing stress

What to expect

receive positive feedback about both the information and mutual support aspects of the group. Family members tell us that although they have felt anxious about coming to a group like this for the first time, by the end of the first session they are relieved to have met others with similar experiences and concerns, and to have an opportunity to ask questions in a supportive environment. Participants are welcome to choose how much of their own personal situation they feel comfortable discussing in the group. Any personal information disclosed in the group remains strictly confidential unless there are significant safety issues which need to be brought to the attention of the treatment team.


"For improved care in the commun​​​ity patients and their relatives need to be seen as partners in care rather than as passive recipients."
Leavey et al; 1987​

rounded corners top

Related Documents

rounded corners bottom
Page last reviewed: 24 February 2014