FIRST-EPISODE PSYCHOSIS SERVICE/TE HOTU AHOTEA (FEP)
Who and what are
We are a small
specialist team that works as part of St Lukes
Community Mental Health Centre (CMHC). We provide support to people
between the ages of 18 and 35 who are experiencing a first
‘psychotic episode’ and who live in the catchment area for our
mental health centre.
What is a ‘psychotic episode’?
A ‘psychotic episode’
refers to a range of experiences a person can have which relate
mainly to how the person thinks and feels. Often these experiences
involve changes in how the person understands important aspects of
the world. Examples of psychotic experiences are ‘hallucinations’
(when a person hears, sees, or in some other way experiences things
that are not actually there: a common form of hallucination is for
the person to hear a voice which sounds real to the person but which
no one else can hear) or ‘delusions’ (when a person holds false
beliefs). You can find more information about psychosis
Why do we offer a special
We believe that
people experiencing a first psychotic episode have particular needs
which are best met by staff who have special skills in this area.
Our experience (and a number of international research studies)
tells us that if we work closely with a person who has had a first
psychotic episode we can not only help them recover from the episode
more quickly, but we can also help improve the person’s longer term
chances of keeping mentally well.
How long do we work with our
We like to offer to
work with clients for 1 year initially. Towards the end of this time
we will discuss with the client what options there are for future
involvement with mental health services if this seems like a good
idea. Exactly how long we work with each client will vary depending
on the needs of the particular client.
How is discharge arranged?
At some point during
the first few months of working with a client, we will start talking
about how we will arrange discharge from our service (even though
actual discharge may be some way in the future). The exact discharge
plan will vary from client to client. Some clients may feel that
they have no need for further help from a mental health service,
whereas others might feel that it would be useful if they could be
offered continued support. We will discuss the options with each
client and hopefully we will be able to come up with a plan which
meets the needs of the individual client and his or her
whanau/family. One of the options could involve the client's care
being transferred to his or her GP (family doctor); a member of the
team who knows the client can help with this process.
What services do we offer?
We offer a range of services, including:
comprehensive assessments, with the involvement of Maori or
Pacific Islands mental health services, or an interpreter, where
this is appropriate.
information for clients and their whanau/families about
skills such as problem solving and communication skills, when
planning the use of medication when it is indicated.
client and her/his whanau/family the opportunity to discuss
important issues in their lives
to explore work/training opportunities
What is our philosophy?
We believe that anyone can experience mental health problems and
that with help and support people can recover from these experiences
and move on in their lives. Our aim is to foster hope and enhance
recovery. We try to work in partnership with clients and their
Who is in our
There are five
members of staff in our team: a psychiatrist (Dr Mark Burns), two psychologists (Jim Geekie
and Vanessa Beavan) an
occupational therapist (Dale Rook), and a
nurse (Stephen Gallier). From
time to time we also have students on placement with us. Currently
we have Huw Jenkins Occupational Therapist covering for Jim while he
is away until July 2009.
After hours crisis service
The staff on our sub
team generally work Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm. Some late
afternoon/early evening appointments will be available. For after
hours (evenings and weekends) service, our clients can use the St
Lukes CMHC crisis team (Phone 0800 800 717) which is available 24
hours a day.