State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Living with Psychotic Symptoms

Episode 57: Psychotic symptoms, often collectively referred to as psychosis, can be part of many illnesses and are characterized by the brain having trouble distinguishing between what is real from what is not. Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness, and is more common most of us think. In the U.S., as many as 3 out of every 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis in their lifetime due to either a medical condition or a mental health condition. It is common for a person to experience psychotic symptoms for more than a year before receiving treatment. Early treatment of psychosis is critical because it often means better recovery. Understanding more about and learning to recognize psychotic symptoms means being in a better position to help those experiencing psychosis get the appropriate care  sooner. Joining me for this conversation is Dr. Jennifer Davis, a Double Board Certified General and Child-Adolescent Psychiatrist and two peers in recovery from their mental illnesses who support others in their recovery journey, peer counselor Tim Beveridge and peer specialist Kenah Roberts.

Broadcasts 8/6/23 & 8/8/23

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production and Patrice Vecchione for story coaching. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

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* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource

Information About Psychosis
About Psychotic DisordersA National Library of Medicine “Medline Plus” website summarizing information about psychotic disorders, including diagnosis and tests, treatments and therapies.

Cleveland Clinic on Psychosis Cleveland Clinic website addressing causes, care and treatment, when to call the doctor, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Schizophrenia Information Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website with research-based information and helpful guidance about what to do following a diagnosis.

Schizophrenia and Related Psychoses; Drug Treatment of Major Psychiatric Conditions First published: 02 December 2021 / Wiley Online Library – Extensive information about and guidelines for medications for psychosis.

Self-Screening tool for Psychotic Symptoms by

Crisis and Mental Health Support
Lifeline – Dial 988 on your phone
­new nationwide mental health crisis phone/text number.

*ACCESS Team – Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health team provides non-emergency evaluation for services and referrals.  800-952- 2335

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Nationalan organization and website providing extensive free education and support, advocacy and resources for persons with mental health issues and their families and friends.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Santa Cruz Santa Cruz local chapter that provides free support groups and education classes for persons with mental health issues and their families and friends. All services are free to access.

Offering Online and In-Person Support Groups:  

– Peer Connections

– Family Members of Adults (18+) in English

– Family Members – Grupo de Apoyo para Familiares in Spanish

– Parents and Caregivers of Youth (11-17)

*MHCAN (Mental Health Community Action Network) a clean-and-sober, peer-run, mental health community center welcomes anyone in the Santa Cruz community diagnosed with mental health issues, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or addiction.

*Community Connection  a Santa Cruz organization empowering adults with psychiatric disabilities and their families with the tools and resources they desire to build stronger community bonds and improve their lives. They provide resources and tools for individuals managing mental health issues and help with new educational opportunities, building job skills or connecting with positive influences. Primarily for those with Medi-Cal insurance or served by Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health.

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)  by Mary Ellen Copeland, MS, MA Popular and practical planning guide for recognizing and managing symptoms, crisis, and recovery. Many versions and fill-in templates can also be found by searching online for WRAP Plan templates.

Kenah’s Suggested Books:
Living With Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery by Marcus Romme, Sandra Escher, et al. – Kenah found this extremely helpful on learning to cope with hearing voices.

The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu This helped guide Kenah through steps of forgiving self and others for our human frailties.

Awakening Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron Buddhist-based, perspective on learning to love yourself and others through our humanity.

Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron – Buddhist-based instruction on basic sitting meditation, and learning acceptance and perspective.

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron – Buddhist-based guidance on overcoming life’s difficulties.

Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron Buddhist-based  teachings on cultivating mindfulness and compassion in the face of fear and uncertainty.

TIP: Kenah uses to find, compare, and follow links to buy new or used books at the best price.

Tim’s Suggested Resources:
Living Well With SchizophreniaA YouTube channel about the general topic of schizophrenia.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – A video game that simulates the experiences of both auditory and visual hallucinations. To deepen empathy with those who live with psychotic symptoms, try to focus on something with this playing at the same time.

*Twin Lakes food pantryA drive-up food pantry every Wednesday located at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, CA. Or use google to find a food pantry near you.

*Grey Bears A Santa Cruz County nonprofit thrift store, food distribution, and recycling center. Where one can get things such as furniture, tech, trinkets, books, and small appliances cheaply.

* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource