Early intervention for psychosis: a Canadian perspective

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2015 May;203(5):356-64. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000288.


This paper provides an overview of early intervention (EI) services for psychosis in Canada. We describe a leading Canadian EI program's approach to enhancing access (via early case detection, open referral, and rapid response) and providing specialized phase-specific treatment. Learnings from this program's research/evaluation indicate that EI can significantly improve service user and family engagement. Achieving and maintaining symptom remission (particularly negative symptoms) may be important for better social and occupational functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP). Our program demonstrates the feasibility of establishing and sustaining an open referral, rapid-response system to address the chronic systemic problems of long waiting lists and barriers to access. We argue that an integrated clinical-research program based on specialized EI guidelines can significantly improve outcomes and advance FEP research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Early Medical Intervention*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*