Early Psychosis Intervention

early psychosis intervention

Early Psychosis Intervention (EPI) services focus on early recognition and intervention for young people who appear to be experiencing a decline in function related to early psychosis.

Treating psychosis as early as possible after symptoms have appeared is important because research indicates that shorter duration of untreated psychosis is associated with a better response to treatment and increases the likelihood of a good recovery. A prolonged delay in getting treatment may result in poorer symptomatic and functional recovery.

The first five years after onset appears to be a critical period in which the symptoms are more responsive to treatment. In addition, if left untreated for a long time, psychosis can impact many areas of a person's life.

Benefits of Early Intervention

Early intervention for psychosis seeks to limit the negative impact that psychosis may have on a person's life and to ensure optimal recovery. A whole set of specialized early psychosis treatments and  services have been developed that are based on scientific evidence of their usefulness. These treatments and services aim to:

  • Provide treatment as quickly as possible to reduce the length of time psychosis remains untreated
  • Limit the suffering and negative effects of psychotic symptoms
  • Facilitate a rapid recovery
  • Provide age-appropriate supports that minimize disruption to the young person's life and enable them to more successfully meet the developmental challenges of youth and young adulthood
  • Support individuals in the pursuit of their academic, vocational and social goals
  • Decrease negative impact of psychosis on families and engage with them throughout the course of treatment
  • Achieve the best short and long term outcomes possible
  • Lower risk of relapse and the need for hospitalization
  • Preserve and develop psychosocial skills, family and social supports
  • Reduce associated problems such as depression and substance use problems
  • Promote recovery, stability, self-determination and personal fulfilment


Individuals accepted to the EPI program will be connected with the following team members: 

  1. A psychiatrist: 
    • To assess and medically treat psychosis.
  2. A case manager:
    • To provide emotional support and education about psychosis and its management
    • To offer practical support with housing, work and school
    • To recommend programs in the community for support
    • To provide education

Who is the EPI program for?

  • Those who are experiencing a first episode of psychosis and are between the ages of 13-35 years old. 
  • Our program bridges between youth and adult mental health services as well as between hospital and community.

How to Access Services:

Anyone in the community may refer to the EPI program including direct referrals from youth and young adults. 

South Island 13 – 35 years old - South Island Child and Youth EPI – Please call 250-889-4284 

South Island 35 years and older - Victoria Mental Health Centre

Cowichan Valley - On Board Program

Port Alberni - Rehabilitation and Recovery

Westcoast - Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services Team

Comox Valley - included in Adult Community Support Services (ACSS)

Campbell River - included in Adult Community Support Services (ACSS)

General Information on Early Psychosis Intervention

Referral Required?
Not required

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