Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program (NSEPP)

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a serious but treatable brain disorder. Although it can affect anyone, it strikes primarily during adolescence and early adulthood. If someone you know exhibits any of the following behaviour, they may be experiencing a first episode of psychosis:

  • Withdraws from usual activities with friends and family
  • Displays unreasonable levels of suspicion, tension, or irritability
  • Has difficulty sleeping, restlessness, night pacing
  • Hears, sees or perceives things that are not actually there
  • Seems confused, unclear and/or disorganized in thoughts and speech
  • Finds every day activities difficult
  • Shows bizarre or unusual behaviour
  • Has extreme mood swings or offers very little facial and emotional expression

What is the NSEPP?

Formed in 1995, the mission of the NSEPP is to promote early detection and optimal, timely healthcare for persons at risk for, or experiencing, a first episode of psychosis. The program advocates strongly on behalf of patients and their families to improve the odds for a successful outcome. The NSEPP is a multidisciplinary, evidence-based program that incorporates excellence in the following areas:

Clinical Services

  • Comprehensive psychiatric assessment
  • Comprehensive biopsychosocial care for up to five years
  • Psychoeducation and supportive programs for patients and their families
  • Liaison with appropriate community members to optimize recovery
  • Consultation on diagnosis and treatment

A variety of programs are provided to patients, families, educators, health care professionals and the general public, in order to provide up-to-date information about psychosis and its treatment.

Our active research program contributes to the growing knowledge about psychosis and the development of improved treatments. Research activities include:

  • Clinical trials of new antipsychotics
  • Studies of brain function in psychosis
  • Studies of symptomatic and functional recovery and predictors of outcome in first episode psychosis
  • Program evaluation


Any person within the Central Zone/IWK Health Centre my be referred who are exhibiting symptoms of, or has been diagnosed with, a first episode of psychosis; are between the ages of 12-35; or has been treated for less than six months with an antipsychotic.

Anyone can refer someone to the program, including self-referrals, family members, friends, teachers, counsellors, family physicians and health care professionals. From outside of the Central Zone/IWK, persons may be referred for a consultation regarding diagnosis and/or treatment.

Visit the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program for more information.


Abbie J. Lane Memorial Building
5909 Veteran’s Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS B3H 2E2
Tel: 902-473-2976
Fax: 902-473-3456