Preparing for the Initial Assessment

You’ve taken the big step and have contacted or been referred to an Early Psychosis Intervention Program. An appointment has been made to have an assessment to learn more about what might be going on for you or your family member. Here are some helpful hints for preparing for and attending the initial meeting:

  • Write down exactly what has been happening and what you have observed. Include what actions you may have taken up to now.  Bring this with you.

  • Families are an important source of support but need to know about psychosis and how they can assist. To do this effectively, they will likely need to have some information. This could include information as to the diagnosis, medications and general progress.  A consent form will likely need to be signed that gives permission for professionals to share information.  Not all information needs to be shared and this can be changed at any time. 

  • Even if the person experiencing psychosis does not agree to have you be part of their care team, families can still provide the EPI program with information.

  • Write down questions you may have (you’ll probably find that you have more during the interview).

  • Take paper and pen with you to write down what is said so you don’t have to rely on your memory afterwards.

  • Ask about resources that can help you get a better understanding of psychosis.

What will happen during an assessment (for the individual concerned)

During the assessment a lot of information will be gathered.

This will include:

  • Social Circumstances: social supports, housing, income
  • Psychiatric History: history of current problems, any prior diagnoses or treatment, psychiatric family history
  • Other History: personal, family, developmental, medical
  • Substance Use: pattern of current use, history of use, consequences of use.
  • Mental Status: mood, affect, speech, thought processes, thought content, perception, cognition
  • Risk Assessment: suicide, violence towards others, self-harm, self-neglect
  • Functioning: coping, social functioning, school/work
  • Impact on Family: emotional coping, general health

 All mental health clinicians, as well as physicians, are guided by the rules of confidentiality. That means that whatever is discussed will remain confidential within the treatment team. There are, however, limits to this confidentiality e.g.,  professionals must disclose if the person is in danger of harming themselves or others.