Early Psychosis

The early psychosis treatment program at UC San Diego Health is designed for adolescents and young adults who are experiencing changes in their thoughts, behavior or emotions that might be associated with serious mental health issues. We offer these young people and their families a wide range of help, treatment options and support.

Our comprehensive program is meant to enhance daily functioning while allowing young adults to keep up with school, work, and their personal and professional responsibilities. By providing early identification of psychosis, our goal is to decrease the development of mental illness, as well as reduce its severity and associated disability.

Our Services

Led by Kristin Cadenhead, MD, our multidisciplinary team includes psychiatrists, psychologists and specialized therapists who are skilled in assessing and treating young people with psychotic illness. Our treatments are supported by evidenced-based research and aim to reduce the effects of emerging psychosis. We collaborate with you, your family, and existing primary providers, when present, to develop a treatment plan that best addresses your therapeutic needs.

Comprehensive Evaluation

During your first visit, our team will conduct a complete initial diagnostic evaluation. This evaluation is performed by a psychiatrist or psychologist to help understand your symptoms and diagnosis. 

Our evaluation services include:

  • Clinical consultation
  • Comprehensive diagnostic assessment
  • Neuropsychological assessment
Based on these results, we develop treatment recommendations to address an individual’s unique needs.

Early Psychosis Treatment

Our treatment approaches include a variety of techniques, including psychoeducation, lifestyle counseling, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills for psychosis and cognitive remediation. Treatment options are comprehensive and supported by evidence-based research. They include: 

Did You Know?

Results from a major National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) initiative demonstrate that coordinated specialty care can improve outcomes for young adults with a single episode of psychosis. Coordinated specialty care involves working with a team of specialists to create a personal treatment plan that combines recovery-oriented psychotherapy, low-dose medication management, family education and support, case management, and work or education support. Learn more.

  • Intensive Outpatient Program
  • Pharmacologic management, including alternative/complementary medicine
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group psychotherapy
    • Teen group
    • College readiness group
    • Adult mental health support group
    • Multi-family support group
  • Family therapy
  • Supported employment/education services
  • Referrals to UC San Diego Health inpatient care

Recovery and Follow-Up Care

Our experts understand that recovery processes can look different for each person, which is one of the reasons we emphasize follow-up care. Once our team has helped you and your family sufficiently manage your symptoms, our specialists can provide continued support, monitor progress and assist you in developing a lifestyle that supports mental wellness.

​Appointments & Referrals

Clinic Location

Hillcrest

Is It Time to Get Help?

See if you need to connect to our mental health professionals by taking our free and anonymous online questionnaire.

Meet Our Team

Related Services

Billing and Insurance

We accept cash payments as well as some insurance carriers. ​

For a list of accepted insurance companies or questions about insurance coverage, contact Yolando Pearson, at 619-543-7745 or ypearson@ucsd.edu.

Make A Donation

Help support our mission to deliver effective care to youth with mental illness by making a donation to the early psychosis treatment program.

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