Early Psychosis Intervention

Psychosis refers to a loss of contact with reality. Psychosis can be treated, and many people make a good recovery, especially if they get help early.


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
  • Take a screening test to better identify the symptoms of psychosis

Cannabis Use and Psychosis

Cannabis use has been linked to psychosis as one of the factors associated with developing a psychotic disorder.

Eligibility Criteria

A person must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for the Early Psychosis 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.

Family education group

Research shows that family involvement supports recovery. A free family education group is available to those who are supporting a family member in the Early Psychosis Intervention service. This group provides an opportunity to learn more about the signs, symptoms and treatment of psychosis, as well as many other helpful ways to support your loved one through their recovery process.


The following people can make referrals:

  • Self
  • Family member or friend
  • Community agency
  • Health care professional

*Only physicians and nurse practitioners are able to refer to the telemedicine program, and they must be willing to follow and provide the psychiatrist's treatment recommendations

Make a Referral

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 4:30 p.m. 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 Psychosis 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.

    A free family education group is available to family members who are supporting a loved one in the recovery process.

    Each individual's recovery plan looks different.

    The sooner someone seeks treatment for psychosis, the better the outcome.


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

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