Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions.
Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness, and it is more common than you may think. In the U.S., approximately 100,000 young people experience psychosis each year. As many as three in 100 people will have an episode at some point in their lives.
Early or first-episode psychosis (FEP) refers to when a person first shows signs of beginning to lose contact with reality. Acting quickly to connect a person with the right treatment during early psychosis or FEP can be life-changing and radically alter that person’s future.
KNOW THE SIGNS:
These warning signs may signal early psychosis:
• Hearing, seeing, tasting or believing things that others don’t
• Suspiciousness or extreme uneasiness with others
• Persistent, unusual thoughts or beliefs
• Strong and inappropriate emotions or no emotions at all
• Withdrawing from family or friends
• A sudden decline in self-care
• Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
If you or someone you know is experiencing these warning signs, contact a healthcare professional or a first-episode psychosis program (see below for Massachusetts programs).
Early action keeps young lives on track.
What is Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC)
Research has shown significant success using a treatment approach called Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC). CSC uses a team of health professionals and specialists who work with a person to create a personal treatment plan based on life goals while involving family members as much as possible.
CSC has the following key components:
- Case management
- Family support and education
- Medication management
- Supported education and employment
- Peer support
Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) in Massachusetts
There are a number of CSC programs in Massachusetts (https://www.mapnet.online/first-episode-psychosis-treatment-providers-massachusetts/)
Cambridge Health Alliance
Massachusetts General Hospital ‘First Episode and Early Psychosis Program”
Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis (PREP)
The PREP programs provide CSC in the context of an intensive outpatient treatment program and milieu. In addition to the core CSC treatment functions, PREP services include multiple psycho-rehabilitation and psychotherapy groups weekly that are focused on supporting recovery and cultivating the power of peer support. In addition to family psycho-education, PREP provides individual and group family therapy.
PREP staff are available to provide in-services to hospitals, community clinics, college counseling centers, and other potential referral sources.
Both PREP programs offer a number of training opportunities for students of psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing, and other health services.
First Episode Psychosis Technical Assistance Center (FEP TAC)
The FEP-TAC provides the technical assistance and support necessary to translate scientific knowledge regarding First Episode Psychosis interventions into real-world implementation. The FEP-TAC serves as a state-wide resource for FEP training and FEP program development and support with four overarching priorities:
- Implementation support for Multi-Component FEP treatment and other EBPs and Promising Practices.
- Workforce development activities.
- Research, evaluation and data linking capacity.
- Partnership Engagement and Collaboration.
The FEP-TAC sponsors monthly webinars open to anyone on discrete topics related to FEP interventions.
The FEP-TAC maintains a website that includes information and resources for individuals, families and providers: https://www.mapnet.online/.