Learning with psychosis: A narrative inquiry exploring the lived experiences of secondary students living with early psychosis
Those who experience psychosis struggle to find inclusion within educational institutions (Goulding, Chien, & Compton, 2010; Laurence, Rosseau, Foriter, & Mottard, 2016; Morgan et al., 2012) despite a growing recognition of the need to create an equitable environment for students with mental health difficulties. This research explores the complexities of the experiences of students with psychosis in the secondary school environment with a view to improving support for these individuals. The research focused on each student’s unique experiences by using an empowerment and narrative inquiry design. I recruited a small sample of three primary participants from an early psychosis intervention program located in an Ontario community. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured one-on-one interviews and analyzed with narrative processes. My findings are presented through retelling the story of each participant’s high school experiences, and highlighting their perceptions of inclusion and support. Key findings in Mary, Angel, and Isaac’s stories describe: (a) typical high school experiences, external challenges, academic challenges, and social challenges; (b) sense of belonging, community participation, social inclusion at school, and the challenges that impacted how participants were included at school; and (c) feelings of support, environmental supports, supportive people, supportive actions, and the challenges that impacted support at school. Reading the stories of these students will provide teachers, administrators and policy makers with insight into the unique experiences of students who live with early psychosis. My aim is that this insight will contribute to a more inclusive discussion about mental health in education, informed by the voices of students who have experienced psychosis.