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Early Intervention in Psychosis Service

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Our vision is to intervene early, responsively and significantly using Early Intervention Psychosis (FREEDOM)* principles to youth experiencing ‘First Episode Psychosis’ across the rural and urban Te Whatu Ora MidCentral region.
The eIMPACT Early Intervention in Psychosis Service provides specialist services for young people aged between 14-25 years, who are experiencing psychosis, who have not received effective treatment for psychosis previously and who live in the MidCentral area. We offer an up to two-year multi-professional service for young people who present with first episode psychosis.

What is psychosis?

“Psychosis” describes symptoms that can accompany some forms of mental illness. These symptoms vary between different people. Some of the most common psychotic symptoms include:
  • Marked changes in usual mood, thinking patterns and behaviour
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Confusing thoughts
  • Hallucinations – unreal sense experiences – While this can occur for any of the senses the most common is ‘hearing voices’ that others can’t hear.
  • Delusions – false beliefs about the everyday world and people around us, this may for example mean thinking that people around us can read or control our thoughts

What are the early signs?

Usually there are some noticeable changes in a person before the obvious symptoms of psychosis develop. These changes are called early signs. The early signs may be vague and difficult to consistently notice. The important thing to look for is if these changes get worse or simply don’t go away.
Early signs vary from person to person. In the early phase, there may be changes in the way some people describe their feelings, thoughts and perceptions.
Early signs: 
A person may become suspicious, depressed, anxious, irritable, angry.
A person may experience mood swings, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, loss of energy or motivation.
A person may feel their thoughts are speeded up or slowed down, things are somehow different, things around them seem changed.
Often family and friends are the first to notice changes.  Family and friends may notice when: 
  • A person’s behaviour changes
  • A person’s studies or work deteriorate
  • A person becomes more withdrawn or isolated
  • A person is no longer interested in socialising
  • A person becomes less active
  • When ‘something is not quite right’.

Service Provided:

  • Specialist assessment and treatment for adolescents and young adults aged between 14-25yrs with an identified or suspected psychotic disorder.
  • Trained and skilful staff to attempt to reduce the disruption to peoples lives by intervening early and effectively.
  • Education and support to key family/whanau members.
  • Links to cultural mental health initiatives and to Alcohol and other Drug services.
  • Assessment and treatments options will be explained and discussed.
  • With consent we encourage family/whanau to be fully involved.
  • An opportunity for the young person to explore an explanatory model of their experiences and master the tools of recovery.
  • Advice around lifestyle management of psychosis both for the young person and their family over key developmental stages.
  • Where needed, alcohol and drug education, specifically in relation to psychosis.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
  • Development of relapse prevention tools such as early warning signs with matching strategies for intervention.
  • Optimal medication interventions to maximise recovery, improve the young persons experience and improve functioning.

Why Get Help Early

  • Anyone can have psychotic experiences and they can be treated.
  • If psychotic experiences can be treated early, many longer term problems may be prevented.
  • Early detection and treatment of psychotic experiences can promote full recovery.
  • Serious psychotic experiences can cause major disruptions to a person’s life, study, work and relationships.
  • The earlier the treatment begins the better the outlook.

Contact Us

4 Rongopai Street
Palmerston North
Phone: 0800 653 357
Hours: 08.30am  - 4.30pm
Monday – Friday

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