Improving Care for Youth and Young Adults with
Early Psychosis

Serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, typically appear during adolescence and young adulthood. These conditions — which arrive with symptoms of paranoia, hallucinations and social withdrawal — often cause tremendous suffering for youth, young adults and their families.  These problems are compounded by an ineffective response: even when patients and families reach out for help, the healthcare system may not have the specialized training or have awareness of the range of resources to address the complexity adequately. 


With the unique needs of youth and young adults in mind, we have launched the Specialized Treatment for Early Psychosis (STEP) program. Research shows that early intervention significantly improves the course of the illness and results in better outcomes. Directed by Merrill Berger, PhD, clinical associate professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, our team consists of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, employment/education specialists, peers and other experts, as needed. Together, they help youth and young adults get accurate diagnoses and timely and effective care allowing them and their families to have the brightest future possible. The STEP Program was formally launched in winter 2019.

The program’s ultimate goal is to offer clinical consultation to providers who care for youth and young adults with early psychosis anywhere in our region.