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In addition to quirky rock songs, the group taught the middle schoolers about the early symptoms of psychosis, and how to notice them in their friends.
Psychosis is a condition that affects the mind, so that those suffering from it have a hard time telling the difference between what’s real and what’s not real. Symptoms can include auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations, as well as delusions. You may hear voices, or feel like bugs are crawling on your body.
Guitarist Mike Young went through similar symptoms when he was in high school, suffering from depression and paranoia. He stopped going to school and withdrew from his friends and family. He said if it wasn’t for a friend reaching out to him, he might have never known he was going through a psychotic episode.
Psychosis largely afflicts young people between the ages of 16 and 25, and the hope of ReachOut’s presentation is to inform people of what to look out for when they’re young.
“If a friend is going through something like this, you’ll be the first to notice,” said lead presenter Barbara Adler. “It’s really important that if you or a friend are going through any of these things, you should get checked out.”
Approximately three per cent of the population could potentially experience psychosis, meaning it is six times more common than Type 1 Diabetes. Although there is no cure for psychosis, there is treatment so those affected can live a full life.
The mental health group showed the classes how some people may have genetic vulnerabilities, and when environmental stresses are added on, it can trigger an episode. Alcohol and other drugs can also increase chances, and smoking marijuana regularly can increase chances of psychosis by 40 per cent.
While those statistics may sound scary, ReachOut’s focus is largely on being aware that what your friend is going through may not be just a “teenage phase”.
For more information on psychosis, visit ReachOut’s website.
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