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Early intervention in psychosis in the North Lee Mental Health Services programme: a 5-year review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 June 2019

G. Lalevic*
Acute Mental Health Unit, Cork University Hospital (HSE), Wilton, Cork, Ireland
M. Scriven
Acute Mental Health Unit, Cork University Hospital (HSE), Wilton, Cork, Ireland
S. O’Brien
St. Michael’s Unit, Mercy University Hospital (HSE), Cork, Ireland
*Address for correspondence: Dr G. Lalevic, Acute Mental Health Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland (Email:



An Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) programme aims to engage patients in early assessment and phase-specific interventions which are the key elements of the Irish National Clinical Programme for psychosis. This study aims to describe and review the EIP programme offered by Cork’s North Lee Mental Health Services over a 5-year period.


A retrospective descriptive study design was adopted to describe and review the EIP programme, patient demographics and treatments offered in the service over a 5-year period.


A total of 139 patients were accepted into the programme over the 5-year period. The mean age of onset was 30 years (median = 28, SD = 9.9), and the mean duration of untreated psychosis was 8 months (median = 2.5, SD = 15.3). Two-thirds of patients were single on initial assessment, had a history of substance misuse and were unemployed. The majority of the cohort engaged with the keyworkers and occupational therapy but did not complete the full psychological or family programmes offered. Hospital admission was required for 12% of the cohort.


Patients experiencing their first episode of psychosis can successfully be treated in the community with appropriate professional and family support. However, deficiencies were noted in physical health monitoring, as well as in the availability and engagement with family and psychological therapies. Properly resourced early interventions in psychosis teams are necessary to deliver services at internationally recognised standards.

Short Report
© College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 2019 

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