Psychosis, First Episode and Coordinated Specialty Care

People who experience psychosis get better faster when they get help early on. With prompt treatment, they often do better in school, work, and their personal lives.

Understanding psychosis

Psychosis describes conditions that affect the mind when there has been some loss of contact with reality. The signs and symptoms of psychosis include disordered thoughts and speech; extreme distrust of others; fixation on false beliefs; seeing, hearing, or feeling things others don't; and unusual thoughts or perceptions. People experiencing psychosis may be confused and frightened. It is important to talk with a health care provider as soon as symptoms are recognized.

Genetics, trauma, substance use, physical illness or injury, or mental health conditions can all contribute to psychosis. People ages 15 to 25 are most likely to have a first episode of psychosis. 

Treatment for first episode psychosis

The first time someone has psychotic symptoms is called the first episode of psychosis. Coordinated Specialty Care focuses on ensuring the person experiencing first episode psychosis has everything they need to recover. This model of care uses a team approach. A team of specialists works with the young person and their loved ones to develop the best treatment plan based on individual needs, which may include family education and support, medications, supported education and employment, and therapy.

Coordinated Specialty Care programs

Three programs in Wisconsin use Coordinated Specialty Care to treat people experiencing first episode psychosis. These programs are open to the residents of the counties listed below. 

  • Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, and Washburn: CHOICES
  • Dane: PROPS
  • Milwaukee: CORE

If your county is not listed above and you need help now, call your county crisis line, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Know your rights

There are rules to ensure the privacy and dignity of people receiving coordinated specialty care services for first episode psychosis are protected. Learn more about Wisconsin's client rights law.

Information for service providers

The resources below are for current providers of coordinated specialty care and those interested in using the model to treat people experiencing first episode psychosis.

Data collection and reporting

Satisfaction survey materials

The user’s guide, survey tools, and sample covers letters were updated in 2021. Use the versions below. Do not use older copies. Use eInsight to enter your data and submit your data to DHS. Information on how to use eInsight is included in the user’s guide below.

User's Guide for Participant Satisfaction Surveys, P-00887

Survey tools

These surveys are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Khmer

Sample cover letters

Family cover letter
English (Word) | Spanish (Word)  | Hmong (Word)  | Khmer (Word)

Youth cover letter
English (Word) | Spanish (Word)  | Hmong (Word)  | Khmer (Word)

Adult cover letter
English (Word) | Spanish (Word)  | Hmong (Word)  | Khmer (Word)

Training opportunities


Contact DHS staff with questions about offering coordinated specialty care for first episode psychosis.

Last Revised: October 11, 2021