ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota mental health advocates are encouraging parents to be on the lookout for the warning signs of a psychotic break.

Identifying mental illness in kids and young adults can be difficult, but there’s a renewed interest in teaching people what to look for, KSTP-TV reported.

“Most people have no idea what to do if they see symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia in a loved one,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of Minnesota’s branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We don’t know yet how to prevent it from developing, but we do know how to prevent it from becoming disabling.”

Three in every 100 people experience symptoms of psychosis at some point in their lives, Abderholden said. People ages 18-21 are more likely to experience a psychotic break, she said.

“Often young people are very afraid to let people know they are experiencing those symptoms,” Abderholden said.

Most people wait an average of 74 weeks after first experiencing symptoms before seeking help, she said.

“We want people to seek treatment immediately,” Abderholden said. “It can be scary if you think someone’s following you, if you’re hearing voices or anything like that. We want to help families say ‘It’s OK.'”

The alliance plans to host a two-hour class in March with the goal of educating parents and caregivers on how to spot symptoms of psychosis, causes, treatment options and the importance of early intervention.

Information from: KSTP-TV,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.