search Menu

Early Interventions in Psychosis

We support people experiencing symptoms of psychosis for the first time, as well as people at risk of developing psychosis.

We provide help and support to people over the age of 14 who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis for the first time, and for one week or more.

We also work with people who are at risk of developing psychosis. This might include people who:

  • Have a strong family history of psychosis
  • Are experiencing a decline in social functioning
  • Have increased levels of anxiety and some mild psychotic symptoms.

Our Mental and Emotional Health pages have some advice on general ways to support a young person with their mental health.

Psychosis affects the way someone believes, views and experiences things. It most commonly develops between late teens and early adulthood. Anyone can develop psychosis, and most people recover in less than six months with treatment and support. Early treatment increases the chance of a full recovery.

Early signs can sometimes be unclear and hardly noticeable. A person with psychosis might experience the following:

  • Hearing, smelling and seeing things that other people don’t
  • Saying things that seem strange to friends and family
  • Becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • Becoming suspicious that everything is about or related to them
  • Feeling that their thoughts are being controlled by someone or something else

Read more about the symptoms of psychosis on the NHS website.

If you, or someone you care for, require early intervention, we’ll create a care plan with you. The care plan will include:

  • Information to help you and your family understand psychosis
  • Support with school, college, university or work
  • Psychological interventions
  • Assessment and support to manage health and wellbeing, including healthy eating, physical activity and stopping smoking
  • Support with understanding your medication.

We usually meet you within 14 days of your referral, at a time and venue convenient to you. The meeting gives you the opportunity to discuss your experiences and any concerns you have.

In order to make a referral to the Early Interventions in Psychosis Team:

  • The patient must have experienced a period of psychosis for at least one week
  • The period of psychosis needs to have been accompanied by a decline in functioning
  • It must be the first episode of diagnosed psychosis and symptoms will have emerged within the past three years
  • The patient should not have previously been prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

We usually do not accept referrals for:

  • Drug induced cases where psychosis remits once drug use stops, usually within seven days
  • Cases where a clear organic cause is evident
  • Symptoms which are wholly explicable in the context of post traumatic stress disorder or personality disorder
  • Crisis cases, which should be referred to acute services in the first instance.

 Those considered in an At Risk mental state will show the following:

  • Experiencing distress
  • Be in younger adulthood (typically between 14-30)
  • Have evidence of decline in social functioning by 30% over the last year which has been sustained for at least a month.

With at least one of the following:

  • Mild psychotic-like symptoms that are distressing but do not meet the threshold for psychotic diagnosis, but significant enough to gain clinical attention (present at least once a week for a month over the last year)
  • Frank psychotic symptoms that last for less than one week and resolve spontaneously
  • Strong (first degree relative) family history of psychotic illness

Referrals must include a detailed history of the presenting complaint. In borderline cases, strong objective indications such as being at peak age or a first-degree relative, will be taken into consideration. 

If your child is showing symptoms of psychosis, please visit your GP in the first instance who will be able to refer to us in CAMHS if necessary. 

If you feel you need to speak to someone urgently please visit our urgent help information to decide who is the right person to speak to.