First Episode Psychosis (FEP)


According to experts with Yale University, "First episode psychosis simply refers to the first time someone experiences psychotic symptoms or a psychotic episode. People experiencing a first episode may not understand what is happening. The symptoms can be highly disturbing and unfamiliar, leaving the person confused and distressed. Unfortunately negative myths and stereotypes about mental illness and psychosis in particular are still common in the community."



  • Most mental illness begins at a young age: "Unlike most disabling physical diseases, mental illness begins very early in life. Half of all lifetime cases begin by age 14; three quarters have begun by age 24.  Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year." (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Suicides are increasing among young people: "Nationally, the suicide rate among 15- to 24-year-olds has increased modestly but steadily since 2007: from 9.6 deaths per 100,000 to 11.1, in 2013 (the latest year available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)."(New York Times, July 27, 2015)
  • The number of college students reporting severe psychological problems is increasing: "A survey of college counseling centers has found that more than half their clients have severe psychological problems, an increase of 13 percent in just two years. Anxiety and depression, in that order, are now the most common mental health diagnoses among college students, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State." (New York Times, July 27, 2015)
  • Early intervention works: "Data have shown that early intervention following the first episode of a serious mental illness can make an impact. Coordinated, specialized services offered during or shortly after the first episode of psychosis are effective for improving clinical and functional outcomes." (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Early intervention is cost-effective: "The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People report – 2009 notes that cost-benefit ratios for early treatment and prevention programs for addictions and mental illness programs range from 1:2 to 1:10. This means a $1 investment yields $2 to $10 savings in health costs, criminal and juvenile justice costs, educational costs, and lost productivity." (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)