What is Psychosis

Psychosis describes a scenario in which a person experiences a break from reality and hears, sees or believes things that are not real. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 3 in 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis during their lives. Young adults are at an increased risk for psychotic episodes due to changes in brain development. A psychotic episode can result from a mental or physical illness, substance abuse, trauma or extreme stress.

Approximately 100,000 adolescents and young adults experience first episode psychosis each year in the United States.1 Half of all mental illnesses begin by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24. On average, it takes 18.5 months from initial symptoms of psychosis for someone to receive a diagnosis and treatment.2 Delays in accessing care leads to poor clinical outcomes.

The goals of the EPI Plus Program include establishing a framework and strategy to shift emphasis in California's mental health system away from stage four crisis care and response, to stage one early detection and intervention, just as we approach other serious illnesses. Research demonstrates that proactive treatment and intervention improve life outcomes for individuals.

1National Institute on Mental Health
2 Kane et al., 2015