Objective: Studies defining the course and outcome of people experiencing their first episode psychosis (FEP) generally report an improvement in symptoms and functioning. Little is known about the follow-up arrangements offered to patients when their time in a FEP comes to an end.
Method: Our study focuses on a sample of FEP patients (n = 292) who were followed for up to 3 years in a multi-element specialized FEP service.
Results: Improvement in positive symptoms and social functioning, but not negative symptoms, was observed in this sample both for people who completed 3 years in the program and for those who left early. About 40% were referred to specialized mental health services, whereas 24% were followed by their family physician. Patients who were followed by family physicians had decreased symptoms and improved functioning.
Conclusion: Most patients treated in an early psychosis program will need follow-up, the largest group will require specialized mental health services in the community, but a significant group can be followed by family physicians.