The Lancashire Early Intervention Service (EIS) aims to help people who have experiences which are distressing and difficult to make sense of, which may lead to being at risk of psychosis for the first time, get the right help early and continue living the lives they want to lead.

The Lancashire EIS is for people aged between 14 and 64 years old who have recently been diagnosed with psychosis, and for people who are having unusual experiences or difficulties and who may develop symptoms of psychosis.

We aim to help people recover as quickly and as well as possible, particularly by offering help early.

We provide practical advice, support, information and help people develop a better understanding of their experiences. The team consists of experienced mental health practitioners including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, psychological therapists, clinical psychologists, support time and recovery workers (STR) and psychiatrists.

We understand that psychotic experiences can be distressing and confusing, both for the people who experience them and also for those around them, so we aim to give people the right help early, enabling people to understand and deal with these experiences effectively and ensuring that individuals can continue to live the lives they want to lead. We work hard to build supportive partnerships with the people we work with in a way that is respectful.

What is Early Intervention for Psychosis?

Early Intervention teams work with people experiencing psychosis, or who might be considered at risk of developing psychosis, and help them and their families to lead the lives that they want to live.

Early Intervention aims to promote an individual's recovery from psychosis by:

  • Promoting mental health
  • Encouraging social inclusion
  • Reducing stigma
  • Early detection of troubling experience such as psychosis
  • Providing more effective treatment as early as possible

Psychosis affects different people in different ways and we work flexibly to help every individual in a way that meets their needs. Although psychosis can have a big impact on people's lives it is not uncommon, for example in Lancashire alone between 200 and 250 people each year will experience their first episode of psychosis.

The Lancashire Early Intervention Service is here to help those people.

The service is for people aged between 14 and 64 with a first presentation of psychotic experiences or those individuals who we suspect could be at risk of developing psychotic experiences.

Individuals who have been treated for other difficulties, or who have previously experienced brief psychotic experiences, may also be referred for assessment by the team.

Further information about service provision for people under 14 years of age can be found via our CAMHS Teams

Further information about service provision for people over 65 years of age can be found via our Older Adults Mental Health Teams

Early Intervention is important because the longer difficulties are left untreated, the greater the disruption to a person, their lives and other relationships. Early recognition and treatment of difficulties improves outcomes and reduces the impact on a person's life.

There are many reasons why a person might become involved with the Lancashire Early Intervention Service but the thing that they all share is that they or other people may be concerned that they are experiencing psychosis for the first time.

There are many reasons why a person might experience psychosis, for example they might have had a very difficult or traumatic experience, they may have been using drugs or substances, or they might be struggling with life's challenges. If you are unsure about what we mean by psychosis, or whether or not this might be happening to you, you can talk about this with a member of the EIS Team, who will help you make sense of what is happening.

Psychosis can be very confusing, frightening and upsetting when it happens, and our service aims to help reduce the impact it has on people's lives, recover as quickly and fully as they can, and help people reduce the chances of it happening again.

If you are worried that you or someone you care for is experiencing psychosis then you should visit your GP, who may refer you into specialist mental health services.

Referral into the Early Intervention Service is made through the Specialist Triage, Assessment and Referral Team (START). This service provides access to adult mental health services for those aged 16 and above. Referrals to START can be made by GPs, practice nurses, health visitors, and other health professionals, statutory and non-statutory services.

Referrals are screened and assessed by Nurse Assessors and referred to the most appropriate service for therapeutic intervention. New referrals made to Lancashire EIS are discussed daily. If it is agreed that your needs require assessment by the service, we aim to complete the assessment within 2 weeks.

The Lancashire Early Intervention Service works with people for between 6 months and 3 years depending on their needs. The service is designed to support individuals and their family, partner or friends who support them in their recovery journey.

During this time the EIS will work with individuals to help them develop a better understanding of the strengths, skills and resources they have that will help them achieve their personal and recovery goals and reduce the impact that psychosis might have for individuals socially or in work.

Our team

Once an individual has been referred to the EIS; here are some of the people they may meet: 

Care co-ordinator

Care co-ordinators are trained mental health nurses, social workers or occupational therapists. They are sometimes referred to as case managers and will see someone regularly throughout their time in the service. A CCO will be the main point of contact for the service for both service user and the relatives or friends who support them. A CCO will discuss with individuals how often they want to meet up, which can be quite frequently when things are difficult. People often want more frequent visits when they first come into the service and fewer visits when they are feeling better.

A CCO will do their best to meet the needs of an individual and also the family or friends who support them. This should include offering (Care Act Compliant) carer's assessments and other routine appointments to support relatives or friends who are helping individuals manage their conditions.

Duty worker

If you call the service when your care co-ordinator is not available, it is the duty worker who will be able to give help and advice.


A psychiatrist is a doctor who has specialised in mental health. Each team has a senior psychiatrist (consultant) working alongside other psychiatrists. An individual will see a psychiatrist soon after they come into the service, during healthcare reviews such as care programme approach (CPA) and at other times when necessary.

Care co-ordinator's will ask for an appointment with a psychiatrist if they feel an individual needs one. An individual who is in our service, or a friend or relative who supports them manage their condition can request an appointment, if they feel that this would be helpful. This can be requested through your care co-ordinator or by contacting the service directly. Sometimes when the psychiatrist sees an individual they will suggest when their next appointment should be.

Psychological therapist 

Psychological therapists can offer specialist psychological therapies (or talking therapies). These will be in addition to the input that care co-ordinator provide. Psychological therapists can work with individuals or with families or with both. In Lancashire Early Intervention Service, CCO's s and psychological therapists all work primarily with an approach called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), although most of our therapists also have knowledge of other therapies that are sometimes helpful in understanding and dealing with difficulties.

Support, time and recovery (STaR) workers 

Support, time and recovery workers can provide focussed practical support if someone needs it, for example helping individuals get back into work or education, or to join in social activities. They usually work with people for a short time only, to help towards a particular goal.

Research assistant

In order to keep learning about how our service and how services like ours can be more effective, the EIS tries to get involved in research. If you or a relative have been referred into the EIS you may be asked if you are interested in being involved in any research projects that might be running. This might be at a time when you are with the service, or sometimes after you have left the service. If you decide to do this, you may meet a research assistant whose job will be to gather information from you. Please note that whether someone agrees to participate in research or not, it will not affect the care they receive from the Early Intervention Service.