The Lived Experiences of Family Members and Carers of People with Psychosis: A Bottom-Up Review Co-Written by Experts by Experience and Academics

Psychopathology. 2023;56(5):371-382. doi: 10.1159/000528513. Epub 2023 Jan 23.


Informal caregivers of individuals affected by psychotic disorder can play a key role in the recovery process. However, little research has been conducted on the lived experiences of carers and family members. We conducted a bottom-up (from lived experience to theory) review of first-person accounts, co-written between academics and experts by experience, to identify key experiential themes. First-person accounts of carers, relatives, and individuals with psychosis were screened and discussed in collaborative workshops involving individuals with lived experiences of psychosis, family members, and carers, representing various organizations. The lived experiences of family members and carers were characterized by experiential themes related to dealing with the unexpected news, the search for a reason behind the disorder, living with difficult and negative emotions, dealing with loss, feeling lost in fragmented healthcare systems, feeling invisible and wanting to be active partners in care, struggling to communicate with the affected person, fighting stigma and isolation, dealing with an uncertain future, and learning from one's mistakes and building resilience and hope. Our findings bring forth the voices of relatives and informal carers of people with psychosis, by highlighting some of the common themes of their lived experiences from the time of the initial diagnosis and throughout the different clinical stages of the disorder. Informal carers are key stakeholders who can play a strategic role, and their contributions in the recovery process merit recognition and active support by mental health professionals.

Keywords: Carers; Family; Lived experiences; Psychosis; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders* / psychology

Grants and funding

No funding sources were involved in the writing of this manuscript.