Early Intervention in Psychosis

Psychosis refers to a loss of contact with reality. The sooner someone seeks treatment for psychosis, the better the outcome.

Symptoms

Common symptoms that may be signs of psychosis:

  • Confused thinking, difficulty concentrating, disconnected thoughts, poor memory, hard to engage in conversation
  • Strongly held beliefs which may be unusual
  • Hallucinations - people hear, see, taste, smell or feel things that are not real
  • Mood changes - hard to express feelings, bursts of emotion, feeling excited or depressed
  • Changed behaviour - feeling bored, feeling different, laugh or become angry for no reason

Eligibility Criteria

A person must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for the Early Intervention service:

  • Between the ages of 14 and 35
  • Suspected of experiencing symptoms of psychosis, or has been diagnosed with a first episode of psychosis
  • Has never been treated for psychosis, or has been treated with an anti-psychotic medication for less than 6 months
  • Supported by a family doctor willing to continue with treatment recommendations

If a person does not meet the criteria for this service, we will attempt to provide information for other services that may be available.

Referrals to our Program

Anyone can make a referral or inquiry for themselves or for a person they suspect is experiencing psychosis.

Referral Process - What to Expect

Step 1 - The Initial Telephone Call

An intake coordinator will answer calls Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. If you leave a message for a call back, all information is kept confidential.

The purpose of this call is to ensure that the person being referred meets the criteria for the Early Intervention service.

If making a referral for someone else, when possible it is a good idea for the person being referred to be aware of and/or involved in this initial conversation.

Step 2 - Evaluating the Referral

The initial information about the referral is evaluated by our team of health professionals (social worker, nurse, occupational therapist, concurrent disorder specialist, and psychiatrist).

Step 3 - Contacting the Referred Person

If the referral criteria is met, we will contact the individual within two weeks and arrange to meet with them to gain a better understanding of the person's situation, thought-process and to discuss options available through the Early Intervention service.

Step 4 - Initial Meeting

The individual can decide where the meeting takes place (at home, at our office, school, coffee shop) and whom they want to invite to the meeting (parents, teacher, school counsellor, friend).

Typically, two members from our team will attend this meeting.

After this meeting, the person who made the initial referral will be notified about the outcome (i.e. to continue with assessment/treatment, or to refer the person to a different mental health service).

Step 5 - Assessment

If the person meets the criteria and a decision is made to continue, an initial 90-minute assessment is arranged with our team's psychiatrist.

At this meeting, the person usually meets with the team psychiatrist first and then has the option of including family (parents/partners) or a significant supportive person for the second portion of the assessment.

At the end of the assessment, the psychiatrist gives feedback and recommendations for treatment and follow-up. A diagnosis is not usually given at the end of this appointment.

Step 6- Treatment

The individual and his/her family will be partnered with clinicians from the Early Intervention service for ongoing follow-up, education, and support.

Each individual's recovery plan looks different.

Psychosis can be treated, and many people make a good recovery, especially if they get help early.

For more information, call 905-688-2854, ext. 7262.


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