Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms associated with psychosis, such as voice hearing, and more likely to seek mental health support. However, little is known about the emotional experiences of girls and young women who seek help for symptoms of psychosis to inform gender sensitive services and access routes. The current review offers the first focused insights into barriers and facilitators relating to help-seeking for girls and women experiencing symptoms of psychosis.
OneSearch, PubMed and PsychINFO databases were searched for suitable papers in relation to the research question between November 2021 and February 2022. 139 papers were found, of which eight met the inclusion criteria for review.
Across the eight papers reviewed, participants were aged 15-71-years-old. From the participant numbers available, data from a total of 54,907 participants from a range of demographic groups were included in the review. Results and findings sections from the eight papers were reviewed for themes, and four overarching themes emerged: (1) the emotional cost of seeking help, (2) voice-hearing for girls and women, (3) side effects of treatment, (4) facilitators to accessing support.
Engagement in talking therapies can be difficult when services minimise the experience of psychosis related symptoms. Women may be more likely to have their symptom-related distress diagnosed as a mood disorder, rather than symptoms of psychosis being identified, preventing timely tailored intervention. Normalisation, psychoeducation, social support and validation were recommended as helpful interventions.