POPS UK is a Facebook group created for parents, family and friends of people experiencing psychosis or schizophrenia to connect, communicate and share resources and stories. With nearly 450 members – as of July 2022 and growing fast – across the UK and beyond , the group provides support and helps people make connections with others.
The group is very active with hundreds of posts and thousands of interactions between members each month.
Members describe the group as their haven because people understand what they are experiencing, when it can feel like nobody really understands.
The group is easy to access and join, just click the link and answer 3 simple qualifying questions (to keep us safe) and you are in. No hassle, no judgement, no long delays to a response... just people who are like you and need to air their issues, reach out or simply know they are not the only one experiencing the challenges of caring for someone with psychosis or schizophrenia.
Come and join us, you will be welcomed!
Visit POPS UK →
One Mother's Story
Recognising I was a parent carer was a slow process, taking several months. It wasn't something I had decided or agreed to do but being the parent of an adult who needed extra help meant I became a carer.
A Black Hole
Trying to unravel and understand my son's extreme behaviour at the time was very difficult, I have since heard another carer describe this process as like falling into a black hole, suddenly you need a great deal of information, experience, and support. It's confusing to know where to turn.
Ignorance about mental illness
Even though I was in my late 50s, I had no real understanding of the challenges and issues faced by those with mental health problems. I had to learn very fast, it was hard work and largely self-taught. Although most common it is not always parents who find themselves this situation, it can be partners or siblings or others, who suddenly need support and help.
Facebook Mark One
Whilst in the black hole I turned to online sources, and initially found an American Facebook group for parent carers. Although focused on younger children with psychosis, it was a good starting point. At that time, I mostly read comments rather than responding to them.
An Online Course
From there someone suggested an online course, Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia, run by Kings College London. I enrolled and found it was excellent. The course runs in real time which made it interactive, and I became part of an online class, after each lesson plentiful comments were encouraged by all classmates.
The structure worked for me and provided my first opportunity to talk to other parent carers. Their experiences with complex behaviour were like mine and offered useful ideas for how to reach and support their loved ones.
A second key moment happened when someone on the American Facebook group pointed me to a British based group called POPS UK. This had been set up for the parents, family and friends of Psychosis/Schizophrenia Sufferers.
Phil Stringer started the group based on his experience of needing help and support quickly and not finding any. Phil personally vets all who want to join to maintain it as a safe and well-focused place.
The first thing I read was:
Welcome to POPS, we hope you feel comfortable here to share your story when you are ready. This is a safe space with absolutely no judgement from anyone – we all try to encourage and uplift others on this challenging journey.
I had finally found a place to go when confused, lost, frustrated and alone, a place to let off steam and help others to do so