A new report, co-produced with people with lived-experience of psychosis, their families and carers, outlines how early intervention services can be delivered across Scotland in order to help provide better and more effective care.

Approximately 1,600 people in Scotland experience a first episode of psychosis each year. Evidence shows that providing early intervention in psychosis (EIP) leads to better outcomes for people and longer-term cost savings to the NHS and wider society.

This important project - involving Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and Support in Mind Scotland - gathered views from more than 130 people across Scotland, with lived experience of psychosis. We talked to people who had accessed services for psychosis and the family members, or friends who had supported them.

The HIS report found that there is significant variation across Scotland in the provision of care and treatment for people with first episode psychosis. To supplement this wide-ranging report, Support in Mind Scotland was commissioned by HIS to produce a further report compiling the findings of engagement work, which was written by our Project Worker Hamish Kidd.

You can read and download the Early Intervention in Psychosis Report HERE

You can read and download the EIP Engagement Project report HERE

People who experience delays in initial access to services are more likely to have to contact with out of hours, crisis or emergency services. This issue has become more pressing during the pandemic, as anecdotal reports indicate increased numbers of people experiencing first episode psychosis due to COVID-19.

Support in Mind Scotland talked to people who had accessed services for psychosis and the family members, or friends who had supported them, and Hamish Kidd's EIP Engagement Report has been welcomed by the charity's CEO Frances Simpson.

Hamish and Frances would also like to extended their thanks to all the participants, and those who are now actively involved in campaigning for Phase 2 of the project.

In a foreword for the report, Frances said: “We have been supporting individuals and families impacted by psychosis for nearly 50 years, and the dominant experience of the people we have supported over the years is of being ignored or let down by mental health services, that simply did not understand people’s experiences.

“In 2014, we completed a report we titled ‘One in 100’, gathering the experiences of people with schizophrenia and psychosis and their families with the aim of putting pressure on decision-makers to address this neglect. But the report did not turn the tide in spite of widespread support from individuals, families, practitioners and clinicians who knew a new approach was urgently needed.

“The 2018 EIP working group did not involve many people with lived experience initially, but as the work evolved, we reached out to as many voluntary groups as we could to ensure that the voice of lived experience was heard loud and clear, leading and informing essential change.

“The result is this report: hard to read, powerful and moving testimony that tells us sadly that very little has changed since our 2014 report – or the comprehensive review of schizophrenia services a full decade earlier in 2004 – with lack of understanding and lack of clear pathways to support still the headline findings.

“Hamish says the word he heard most was ‘listen’ – and it is imperative that this is the last time we go through a review like this, just to file it away and disregard the real life experiences that people have shared. This time we must listen – and act swiftly on what we hear."

The new HIS report outlines how EIP can be delivered in urban, semi-urban and rural communities, tailored to local context. The report also identifies workforce and cost implications.

Dr Suzy Clark, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Clinical Lead at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “The evidence is clear that intervening early with the right set of approaches delivered in the right way will lead to significantly improved outcomes for people. We know that most services are not delivered consistently across Scotland.

"It is our hope that this report will help NHS boards and HSCPs to understand how best to establish and run services in order to provide the best care to people at the very earliest opportunity. We are extremely grateful to the people with lived-experience of psychosis for their contribution to this work.”