Working with people with lived experience of psychosis, their families and carers alongside Scottish Government and NHS board pathfinder sites to prototype and test new mental health services for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Approximately 1,600 people in Scotland experience a first episode of psychosis each year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people presenting with a first episode of psychosis. Since the quarter January-March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Esteem service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has experienced an increase of 20-25% in caseload. This is consistent with the experience of specialist Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services in England. 

Early Intervention in Psychosis programme

The EIP programme supports pathfinder sites to prototype and test new models of early intervention services for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, delivering improvements that mean they: 

  • quickly and easily access services 
  • experience evidence based person-centred care and treatment, and  
  • have an increased likelihood of getting well and staying well.

Phase 1 

The Scottish Government commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland in 2019 to develop a deeper understanding of the Scottish context related to EIP. 

This work sits within the context of Scottish Government policy direction including Mental Health: Scotland Transition and Recovery (2020). Read the findings from the Phase 1 report here. 

Phase 2 

The aim of the EIP national programme is to support the development, redesign and continuous improvement of services across Scotland, to meet the needs of young people with psychosis and their families. 

Phase 2 has seen the design and implementation of two new EIP services in Scotland. Challenges set by COVID-19 and wider recruitment has led to an extension in the programme to March 2024. To read about progress so far, please read here. 


Support for NHS boards  

We work in partnership with a lived experience reference group, Change Mental Health, Scottish Government, Healthcare Improvement Scotland colleagues and NHS board pathfinder sites to: 

  • engage with people with lived experience of psychosis
  • design and deliver services – work with two pathfinder sites to test models of EIP service delivery
  • collect evidence - develop and test quality indicators for EIP services
  • build capacity and capability – develop a knowledge and skills network for pathfinder sites, and
  • develop and test "Essentials of EIP" training. 


Get involved

Two NHS boards are currently participating in the programme. You can still get involved by: 

  • connecting with participating services in your area 
  • follow us on Twitter @SPSP_MH and sign up for our newsletter by emailing  
  • read the findings in our report from the first phase of this programme
  • read the report we commissioned from Change Mental Health (formerly Support in Mind Scotland) to hear the first hand experiences of people with lived experience and staff working in mental health services, and 
  • hear from Dr Suzy Clark on why she loves working in Early Intervention for Psychosis services.


Get in touch 

Email us at if you have a question about the Early Intervention in Psychosis programme or would like to speak to a member of the team about improving services for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.