Psychosis teams work within the community setting to provide a service to clients over the age of 18 years who have diagnosed psychosis disorders and to offer support to their families.

There are four psychosis teams which cover the County Durham and Darlington area:

  • Psychosis team Darlington - West Park Hospital, Edward Pease Way, Darlington, DL2 2TS. Tel: 01325 552322
  • Psychosis team North Durham - Chester le Street Health Centre, Newcastle Road, Chester le Street, County Durham, DH3 3UR. Tel: 0191 3336000
  • Psychosis team Easington - Merrick House, Seaside Lane, Easington, County Durham, SR8 3DY. Tel: 0191 527 5050
  • Psychosis team South Durham - Goodall Centre, Walker Drive, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 6QN. Tel: 01388 640001

What is psychosis?

We use the word 'psychosis' or 'psychotic symptoms' to describe experiences that are seen as unusual or odd by most people. These include hearing voices, seeing things, extremely odd ideas and paranoia.

These are associated with several disorders including schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizo affective disorder, mood disorders, adjustment disorders, substance misuse and organic conditions.

Signs or features which suggest psychosis can include: perceptual disturbances, distorted thinking, unusual beliefs, mood disturbance, dissociation and changes in motivation and social interaction. Distress is a common feature and psychosis can cause significant disruption to the lives of the individual and their families.

Psychosis can last for a short time or be more enduring.

There is evidence that psychosis has a critical period at its beginning, in which early intervention is crucial for a more successful recovery.

About the service

Psychosis teams work within the community setting to provide a service to clients over the age of 18 years who have diagnosed psychosis disorders and to offer support to their families.

The teams offer a variety of treatment options to aid recovery and promote independence. Matching interventions to an individual's needs requires consideration of diagnosis, personality, cultural and social circumstances, level of psychological development and motivation.

These interventions may include medication, talking therapy, psychological therapies, group work, physical well-being and working with other agencies.

Preventing relapse is an integral part of all forms of treatment/intervention, to help support service users follow a pathway to recovery.

Treatment and care takes into account service users needs and preferences.

People experiencing psychosis have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with the psychosis practitioners. Good communication between the practitioners and those who use the service is essential. It is where possible, supported by evidence-based written information tailored to the service user's needs.

If the service user agrees, families and carers are involved in decisions about treatment and care. Families and carers are also given the information and support they need.

The psychosis teams

The service is provided by integrated teams of both health and social care staff.

Teams are multi-disciplinary and may include a consultant psychiatrist and medical staff, psychologist, nursing, occupational therapists, social workers, associate practitioners, support recovery workers and administrative staff. All teams are supported by clinical pharmacy.

In addition, teams are supported by a tertiary psychosis service which includes a consultant psychologist, nurse consultant, art therapist, family therapists and cognitive therapists.

How to access the service

Assessment of service users presenting with features of psychosis is provided by a variety of teams and services including:

  • Access and assessment teams
  • Crisis services
  • Liaison services
  • Inpatient care
  • Community services, including early intervention in psychosis in adult mental health services.

Patients with features of psychosis are then referred on to one of the psychosis teams for treatment.

How does assessment work?

Once a patient is referred to the service an initial assessment will be carried out by a medic, nurse, social worker or occupational therapist (OT) to help decide the way forward for their treatment plan.

After the assessment an allocated worker (care co-ordinator) would then draw up a plan of care (care plan) with the appropriate treatment, which may involve other members of the team. An agreement will be reached between the patient and their care coordinator about how often they need to meet.

The aim is to encourage recovery and discharge of the patient back to their GP.