Early Intervention in Psychosis STEP

The Somerset Team for Early Psychosis (STEP) is a specialist service for people experiencing, or at high risk of developing, their first episode of psychosis. The service focus on young people aged 14-35 years, but there is no upper age limit as per the NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guidelines.

The aim of the service is to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis, minimise the risk of relapse and improve the prospect for recovery. Clients will usually remain on the service caseload for three years to help achieve these objectives.

The service works closely with the existing mental health services; in many cases STEP will provide both care co-ordination and the bulk of psychosocial interventions, while in others some specialist interventions will be provided as part of a care plan administered by another team. Close local liaison is facilitated by the “hub and spoke” service structure.

In addition to providing a clinical service the team attempts to reduce the stigma associated with psychosis and promote the need for early assessment by providing training for professionals working in health, education and other sectors, as well as the general public.