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First Episode Psychosis and Coordinated Specialty Care

People who live with psychosis get better faster when they find help early. With prompt treatment, they often do better at school, work, and their personal lives. Learn more about living with psychosis and finding the right care.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis describes a mental condition. The person with psychosis often can’t tell what’s real. Signs and symptoms of psychosis include:

  • Extreme distrust of others.
  • Fixation with false beliefs.
  • Jumbled thoughts and speech.
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things others don’t.
  • Strange thoughts or views.

People with psychosis may be confused and frightened. If you notice symptoms, talk to a health care provider right away. The first time a person has psychotic symptoms is called first episode psychosis. People 15–25 years of age are most likely to have first episode psychosis.

What causes psychosis?

It’s not clear what causes psychosis, but these factors can play a role:

  • Genetics
  • Other mental health conditions
  • Physical illness or injury
  • Substance use
  • Trauma

How do you treat first episode psychosis?

Coordinated Specialty Care is a helpful method for treating psychosis. It focuses on getting the person what they need to recover.

Coordinated Specialty Care uses a team approach. A group of specialists works with the person and their loved ones to create the best treatment plan. The plan is based on the individual’s needs, which may include:

  • Family education and support.
  • Medicine.
  • Supported education and employment.
  • Therapy.

What coordinated specialty care programs are in Wisconsin?

There are three programs in Wisconsin that use Coordinated Specialty Care to treat people having first episode psychosis. These programs are open to people who live in certain counties:

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

If your county doesn’t have a program listed, and you need help now, either:

Who do I contact for help?

Questions about Coordinated Specialty Care for first episode psychosis? Email

Resources for service providers

These resources are for current providers of Coordinated Specialty Care. They’re also for those interested in using the model to treat people having first episode psychosis. Expand a section and select a link to learn more.


We ask all providers to give the Mental Health Statistical Improvement Program satisfaction survey to their participants. 


Select the link to access the survey in English, Spanish, Hmong, or Khmer.

Sample survey cover letters

Select the link to download a Word template cover letter. Send the cover letter with the survey.

Questions about the survey process? Email

Last revised October 26, 2023