What's normal? Unpacking the notions of 'normalcy' based on the narrative accounts of young people diagnosed with first-episode psychosis

Poster A89, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Shalini Lal1; 1University of Montreal/Centre de recherche du CHUM/Douglas Mental Health University Institute

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the meanings of normalcy for young people diagnosed with first-episode psychosis. Methods: Seventeen youth between the ages of 18–24 were recruited and 31 in-depth interviews were conducted. Results: Six meanings for the concept of normal were identified in young people's accounts in relation to discussions about their well-being: typical event/occurrence; point of reference in terms of past behaviours, states, and functioning; a strongly valued, personal and social lived experience intricately connected to well-being; free from psychiatric symptoms; sub-text of aspired identity; and activities, settings, interactions unrelated to mental illness. Conclusion: This study de-constructs the taken for granted meanings of normalcy within young people's narrative accounts about their resilience and well-being. It illustrates how normalcy is a complex phenomenon embedded in social, cultural, biomedical, and interpersonal discourses.The strong concern for a sense of normalcy and being perceived with a normal identity suggests that this is a subject matter warranting further attention in future research and practice, for example, understanding the impact of services on experiences of normalcy and difference in young people diagnosed with a first-episode psychosis.

Topic Area: First Episode Psychosis

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