Awareness of early warning signs and help-seeking behaviours among patients with schizophrenia who utilize social rehabilitation facilities in Japan

R Koichi, Y Miyamoto, M Akiyama, S Takamura
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 2009, 16 (8): 694-702
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between early warning signs (EWS) and early help-seeking behaviours (HSB) and to identify the characteristics of patients with schizophrenia who sought early help. A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2004 using a self-reported questionnaire. Participants were recruited from social rehabilitation facilities for the mentally ill; 224 subjects participated, 170 of whom had schizophrenia. The survey included questions about demographic characteristics, self-care behaviours (HSB, recognition of EWS and others) and current service utilization and satisfaction. Fisher's exact test and Student's t-test were used to compare the characteristics of study participants. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between recognition of EWS and early HSB.We found that 96 (56.5%) of 170 patients with schizophrenia reported at least one occasion of early HSB during their deterioration. Early HSB were related to the following factors: recognition of EWS, consultation with non-professional and professional support persons during deterioration, consulting with public mental health workers and living with family. Care and support should be offered to patients with schizophrenia to enable them to recognize their own mental deterioration.

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