learn about psychosis

Learn more about what psychosis is and how specialized
support can help you get back to the things that matter to you.

Our services: a team-based approach

This team has specialized training in treating mental illness among youth with serious
emotional and cognitive disorders. The ultimate goal of Psychiatric Services is to achieve
stabilization while working collaboratively with the youth’s primary care.

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Medication and monitoring, as needed
  • Coordination of care with other health providers
  • Assistance with accessing financial benefits to support treatment
  • Education and information to support health and well-being

What is psychosis?

“Psychosis” is a word to describe a range of experiences that relate to changes in how we process information and interpret the world around us. This includes changes in perceptions such as hearing or seeing things, having trouble in processing information, or feeling suspicious of others. For some, these experiences can feel unusual or even scary at times. And for others, experiences associated with psychosis can feel exhilarating — like a gift or spiritual awakening.

All of these interpretations are valid – after all, they’re our experiences. These experiences can come and go and change in intensity with time. Sometimes they can worsen and disrupt your daily life, interfering with the ability to engage in activities and relationships. Understandably, these experiences can be difficult to describe to others. If you relate to the common signs of psychosis, we we’re here to support you sharing how you’re feeling with someone you trust, so you can start feeling more like yourself.

This video from the British Psychological Society offers a helpful overview of psychosis: 

Despite living with a mental health condition, we can still lead regular, fulfilling lives and do the things we want to do. Getting help early can make a big difference.

– Collin, NAVIGATE program participant

I never thought she’d be where she is today compared to where she was. She’s motivated, enjoying her music, enjoying life. It’s miraculous and that’s all because of Navigate.

– Parent of a NAVIGATE program participant

Never keep it to yourself, because there are people that do care. You’re not alone.

– NAVIGATE program participant

Early signs of psychosis

Unfamiliar thoughts or feelings

  • People are against me or want to hurt me
  • Others can read my mind
  • I have special powers or abilities

Perception problems

  • Increased sensitivity to sights or sounds
  • Hearing, seeing, feeling or tasting things that others don’t

Challenges in processing information

  • It feels harder to think clearly, concentrate or stay organized
  • Trouble reading or comprehending what others are saying

Withdrawing socially

  • Feeling disconnected from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities or caring for yourself

If you relate to any of these experiences, we encourage you to learn more about how to get specialized support, and connect with a care team near you.

What causes psychosis?

Psychosis can occur for various reasons, such as the development of mental health conditions, drug use (both prescription and recreational), sleep deprivation, head injury, and many other health issues.

The risk of developing psychosis is impacted by family history (genetic risk factors) as well as our environment and life experiences (things such as traumatic life events). Check out our Resource Library to learn more about psychosis and support options.

How common is psychosis?

Experiences of psychosis happen more often than most people think. Approximately 100,000 young people experience an episode of psychosis each year in the United States—that’s an average of 274 young people each day. It is estimated that 3 out of every 100 people will experience an episode of psychosis in a lifetime, which makes it about as common as diabetes among young adults. (Sources: NIMH 2022, Perala 2007; CDC 2020)

So if you think you may be experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you’re still uncertain about what you’re experiencing, take our self check-in questionnaire.

teens & young adults experience psychosis for the first
time each year in the U.S.

Why is getting support early so important?

Getting help in the early stages of a mental health concern offers the best opportunity for a full recovery. Just like with any health challenge, the earliest symptoms, which may feel manageable for a while, can worsen over time – sometimes rapidly and sometimes gradually. Eventually, symptoms of psychosis can begin to interfere with your life, including your ability to manage schoolwork or a job, and relationships with the people you care about.

But research has found that getting specialized support as soon as possible (ideally within the first two years of noticing these changes) has been proven to:

  • Strengthen mental and emotional wellness
  • Help young people stay engaged with school or work
  • Improve overall quality of life and relationships

Source: National Institute of Mental Health, 2022

Psychosis does not define who you are, nor
limit your ability to live a fulfilling life

What is specialty care for psychosis?

Michigan speciality care teams, called NAVIGATE and ACT Early programs, offer coordinated specialty care (CSC), a recovery-oriented practice focused on rapid access to care and shared decision making among participants, their families and the care team. NAVIGATE and ACT Early teams are trained to provide a range of supports that will look different for each person, depending on individual goals and needs. The primary role of a CSC team is to first uncover, and then help you achieve the things that matter most to you. While this is a little different for everyone, many young people are focused on goals related to completing school, keeping a job, feeling more like themselves, and maintaining healthy relationships.

Specialty care programs are holistic in nature, which means that they take a treatment approach that addresses all areas of life. Depending on your specific needs, early treatment may include:

  • Individual Resiliency Training: therapy focused on identifying strengths, healing from difficult experiences, and learning new coping skills
  • Peer Support & Family Peer Support
  • Education and support for the whole family & support network
  • Support with educational and/or career goals
  • Medication management as needed
  • Substance use treatment as needed

We believe that all people should have access to quality care. Our programs are proud to offer services regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

Coordinated specialty care (CSC) is now considered the gold standard of care for early psychosis,
according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Is it possible to recover from psychosis?

Recovery from psychosis is possible, and there’s a whole community of folks who have been there. Getting comprehensive support as early as possible is the best way to ensure that young people are able to keep their lives on track. The longer time it takes someone to receive specialized care, the higher the risk of symptoms interfering with one’s goals.

Just like with any health challenge, psychosis does not define who you are or limit your ability to live a fulfilling life. If you think you or someone in your life may be experiencing signs of psychosis, our team is here to help.

If you know what it’s like to struggle,
you are not alone

Mental illness has touched me and many of my friends and family members. Finding ways to alleviate the suffering this creates has been a central goal of my life.

– Family Peer Partner, Grand Rapids

Never keep it to yourself, because there are people that do care. You’re not alone.

– James, NAVIGATE program participant

The deep caring, experience, and expertise with which everyone on the staff has offered such a comprehensive variety of helpful programs has been of immeasurable value to our daughter and our whole family.

– Parent of a NAVIGATE program participant