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by Kat Rowe | June 21, 2024


Breaking down barriers to seeking help

Early psychosis, also known as a psychotic experience or episode, is a condition where individuals perceive or interpret reality differently from those around them. This is often described as ‘losing touch’ with reality.

An experience of psychosis can be unsettling and is often misunderstood, profoundly impacting a person’s life. However, Psychosis is treatable.

With the right supports and early intervention, a person who has experienced psychosis can go on to lead a mentally healthy, resilient and fulfilling life

Psychosis is characterised by Orygen as “a term for a range of symptoms where a person’s briefs, thoughts, feelings, senses, and behaviours are altered.” 

Psychosis often manifests in symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganised thinking. 

It’s important to understand that psychosis is not a single disorder but rather a set of symptoms that can occur in various mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. 

Early detection and intervention are crucial in managing psychosis and improving outcomes, underscoring the importance of raising awareness and promoting understanding of this often misunderstood condition.

Introducing the headspace Early Psychosis Program

headspace Early Psychosis offers expert support for young people who are experiencing an early episode of psychosis or are at risk of developing psychosis.

The headspace early psychosis program provides an approach to recovery that extends beyond mere symptom management. The program offers support to 12-25-year-olds, who are at risk of or are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. 

Stride proudly operates the headspace Early Psychosis program in Southeast Queensland in partnership with Lives Lived Well.

The Early Psychosis team at headspace Meadowbrook have a specially trained multi-disciplinary team to support young people with early psychosis and their friends and carers. The team includes Psychiatrists, Psychologists, GPs, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Mental Health Nurses, Vocational Specialists as well as Peer Support Workers.

The team working in this unique early intervention and prevention service are able to offer assertive outreach to young people who may not be able to make it into the centre and can be seen in their homes, at school, work, TAFE or Uni and/or at a local park, cafe or even the beach!

Empowering individuals to live an empowering life

This holistic framework recognises that recovery is not just about alleviating symptoms. The program collaborates with young people and family, friends and carers to establish individualised treatment plans, considering all aspects of life that are important to the individual.

Whether it’s assisting with returning to school, finding employment opportunities, or managing daily routines, headspace is dedicated to equipping young people with the tools and resources they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Recognising the crucial role that families play in the recovery journey, headspace is committed to involving loved ones in the support process. Through family-inclusive approaches, the program aims to improve understanding, communication, and support within the family unit. 

By providing education, guidance, and facilitated discussions, headspace empowers families to navigate the challenges posed by psychosis together, fostering a sense of unity and resilience.

For caregivers and family members supporting a loved one with psychosis, headspace offers a variety of resources and support services tailored to their needs. These may include psychoeducational materials, support groups, and counselling sessions designed to equip caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and emotional support necessary to navigate their role effectively. 

By providing caregivers with the tools and resources they need, headspace aims to create a supportive ecosystem where both individuals and their families can thrive on the path to recovery.

Celebrating a significant milestone

This year, headspace Meadowbrook’s Early Psychosis Program will mark a significant milestone as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, the program has been at the forefront of pioneering initiatives aimed at transforming the landscape of mental health care for young people. 

As it embarks on the next phase of its journey, the program looks forward to continuing its mission of empowering young people to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives beyond their diagnosis.

Clinical Service Manager at headspace Meadowbrook, Veronica Curtin explains that working within the headspace program is a profoundly rewarding experience: 

“Witnessing the growth and progress of participants firsthand is a testament to the transformative impact of early intervention and support.

Every step forward, no matter how small, reflects a journey of resilience and courage. It’s incredibly valuable to see individuals reclaim agency over their lives, pursue their goals, and thrive beyond their diagnosis.”

Taking the first step towards seeking help

The headspace early psychosis team can accept referrals from any source, including self-referral, family, friends, teachers, counsellors, Doctors, Psychologists and/or Psychiatrists.   

Direct referrals to the program are encouraged by contacting the Mobile Assessment & Treatment Team on 0423 614 781 or email: earlypsychosis@headspacesouthport.org.au. You can also find the referral form here.

The headspace Early Psychosis program is currently available in six States and Territories across 14 centres, with expansion to the ACT and Tasmania coming soon. To find a centre near you offering Early Psychosis support, visit headspace early psychosis.

We’re here to help

If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of early psychosis, take the first step toward seeking support. 

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Your mental health matters, and taking proactive steps toward seeking support is a powerful act of self-care and resilience.

Visit headspace.org.au/Meadowbrook to connect with our early psychosis team. 


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