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Early Intervention in Pychosis Service

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Early Intervention in Pychosis Service provides specialist services for young people aged between 14-25 years, who are troubled by psychotic experiences, who have not experienced these previously and who live in the MidCentral Health area.
“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 – this is often in the form of ‘hearing voices’
  • Delusions – false beliefs about everyday world and people around us,  this may for example mean thinking that people around us can read or control our thoughts which is not the case.

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 hardly noticeable. 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. They may not, however, have started experiencing clear psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, or confused thinking.

Early signs

A person may become:
  • Suspicious
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Tense
  • 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  • A person becomes more withdrawn or isolated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

Service Provided:

  • Specialist assessment and treatment for adolescents and young adults with an identifies or suspected psychotic disorder.
  • The aim is to reduce the disruption to peoples lives by providing early intervention, community support, and education about psychosis to other services in the community. Community services linkage with social, educational, work related and support services.
  • Links to Maori Mental Health and to Alcohol and Drug and other related services.
  • Assessment and treatments options will be explained and discussed.
  • With your consent we encourage your family/whanau to be involved. You are welcome to have your family/whanau, other support person or an advocate with you whenever you use our services.

Why Get Help Early

  • Anyone can have psychotic experiences and they can be treated.
  • If psychotic experiences can be treated early, many problems can be prevented.
  • Early detection and treatment of psychotic experiences can prevent other problems such as depression, self injury or substance abuse.
  • 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.

Further information about the early intervention model can be found at the following useful links:

About the team

The team comprises of professional, qualified and trained staff that include:
  • Clinical Manager
  • Nursing staff
  • Psychiatrist
  • Social Worker
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Administrator


Ruahine House
Palmerston North Hospital
Private Bag 11036
Palmerston North

Phone: 0800 264 977
Fax: (06) 350 8183
Hours: 0830 - 1630
Monday – Friday​

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