Do you have or are worried about someone who have had one or a number of the following experiences?

  • Hearing voices or noises that others don't hear.
  • Seeing things that others don't.
  • Other sensory experiences that can not be explained.
  • Sounds and sights look weird or distorted: they might be louder or brighter etc.
  • Feeling paranoid or suspicious that people are out to get you.
  • Worries that a micro-chip or something similar has been implanted in you.
  • Feeling as though your thoughts are being interfered with taken away or put into your head, or are changing in some way.
  • Worries that other people can hear your thoughts.
  • Receiving personal messages from the Telephoneevision, radio or magazines.
  • Smelling things that other people can't smell
  • Believing you have special powers.
  • No longer wanting to mix with other people
  • Problems sleeping.
  • Feeling like you can't cope.

Are these experiences normal?

It might surprise you to hear that 10 to 15% of people will hear a voice that someone else doesn't hear at some point in their life and up to 40% of the population worry that people are against them.

For some people, these experiences are not particularly upsetting for them, but for others these things can become a huge source of distress and they spend a lot of time worrying about them.

Frequently asked questions about psychosis

You may find these questions and answers we've put together helpful.

About the service

The early intervention team provides a service for young people aged 14 to 65 who are having some experiences that they may find unusual and/or distressing.

Sometimes these experiences are that they feel paranoid or very self conscious, or that they may hear, see or feel things that other people do not. Some young people find that they have some unusual beliefs or ideas that members of their peer group or family don't understand or relate to. Sometimes it is the family that notice these things rather than the young person themselves.

In many cases this can be just part of adolescence but in some cases, depending upon the severity and impact of the experience, it can indicate that a young person has or is at risk of developing psychosis. The earlier this is picked up and addressed the better the outcomes and the recovery for the young person.

Treatments and therapies offered

The team offer the following interventions in order to aid a young person's recovery.

Talking therapies and cognitive behavioural approaches

All young people will be offered the opportunity to approach their experiences in a way that examines what happens, and how it impacts upon what they feel, think, and how they react as a result of this. This approach can assist in developing ways of coping, facing fears, and reducing distress. The team also look at addressing mood issues, anxiety, and self esteem which often feature in the needs of the young people they care for. Talking therapies/interventions may be offered not only to the young person but for the family themselves.

Family intervention

The team recognise that the family are the experts when it comes to their loved ones. They offer all families the opportunity to explore their experiences, needs, and concerns and offer specific interventions to help with this. A family could be parents, partners, close friends, siblings, children and anyone the young person considers as part of their family unit. It is normal for family members to be worried, and have distressing feelings and thoughts themselves and the team assist in overcoming this through family work.

Social recovery and goal setting

It is important to look at the goals the young person has and to assist them in achieving these goals through problem solving. Goals can be related to employment/educational, social needs, leisure needs and day to day functioning. Everyone's idea of recovery is different and everyone has different standards and expectations are different. The team offer approaches that look at these specific individualities and aim to assist a young person to get their optimum recovery.

Practical support

Sometimes more practical support can make a huge difference. Some examples may be in assisting with benefits, housing or form filling. These things can often be the cause of great stress and the team aims to help reduce the difficulties associated with stress.

Medication

Not everyone will need medication or want medication. The team liaise with doctors in relation to the prescribing of medication. Their role is to make sure that young people have the information they require and that the options of medication and talking therapies are balanced. They also make sure that young people have the opportunity to look at what taking medication can mean for them, what medications are available and also to look honestly at the side effects and how to manage side effects. Part of the team's role is to monitor this and make sure reviews are provided when necessary.

Our teams

Our teams are made up of care coordinators, support workers, a psychologist, psychiatrists, a team secretary and a manager.

  • Care coordinators who lead on a young person's care, and make sure they have access to the treatments and interventions needed. They liaise with many different agencies and with families. Care coordinators make sure that the care plan covers all aspects of need and wellbeing, from mental health issues to the more practical issues. A care coordinator could be a nurse, a social worker or an occupational therapy depending on the team.
  • Support time recovery workers who focus on the young person's goals, desires and aspirations.  They may spend time looking at building up social needs, or helping someone stay or start work or education.
  • Psychologists who will offer specific talking interventions or therapies for people on a sessional basis, and may deal with more complex needs.
  • Psychiatrists who may make a working diagnosis to allow for prescription of appropriate medication if required. They also monitor to make sure it is having the correct effect and alter it if required.
  • A team manager who makes sure that the service is providing the quality service that it should, and provides some clinical time for people with more complex needs.
  • A team secretary who will make sure that any messages get to a member of the team if you can't get in touch with them. They are very helpful and the teams function because of the organisational skills of the team secretary.

How to access the service

The early intervention team takes referrals from a variety of sources, such as GPs, community teams, mental health wards, counselling services, young people and children's services, and housing services. This list is not exhaustive. The team is prepared to take referrals from any service or team who think a young person they encounter maybe having some unusual or distressing experiences.

Direct referrals can also be made by people or their families. Please contact the team to discuss a potential referral on the number provided at the top of this page.

When a young person is referred to the team it should never be a surprise to them. Referrers are urged to refer following a discussion with the young person and/or their family in order to get the relevant information.

What happens after referral?

Once the referral is received the young person can expect to be contacted within 24 hours when a mutually convenient appointment will be made. In the event that this is not possible, an appointment will be posted out to the individual asking them to confirm. The team aims to see the young person at the earliest opportunity, with the majority of people being seen within a week to a fortnight depending upon urgency and availability.

When the team first meet with a young person they try to engage them and put them at their ease in order to start the assessment process. The process begins with a screening assessment to establish the severity, frequency and distress felt by the young person in relation to specific experiences or symptoms. This is considered alongside any impact their experiences are having on their day to day life and ability to cope and function.

The opinion and perspective of the family are very important, and their needs are also considered should a young person meet the criteria for the service.

Your local early intervention in psychosis team

Hambleton and Richmondshire

The Orchards, Princess Close, Ripon, HG4 1HZ

Telephone: 01765 632922

Harrogate and Craven

Jennyfields Health Centre, Grantley Drive, Harrogate, HG3 2XT

Telephone: 01423 558127

North Durham

Chester-le-street Health Centre, Newcastle Road, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3UR

Telephone: 0191 3336011 

South Durham

St Aidan's House, 2a St Aidan's Walk, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 6SA

Telephone:01388 646840

North Tees

Stockton-on-Tees - Ideal House Allensway, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees

Telephone. 01642 527556

Hartlepool - Stewart House, 53 Church Street, Hartlepool, TS24 7DX.

Telephone: 01429 803746

South Tees

Middlesbrough - Phoenix Lodge, Canevdish Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 3EB

Telephone. 01642 230542

Redcar - Foxrush House, Green Square, Kirkleatham Business Park, Redcar, TS10 5RS.

Telephone. 01642 838333