DSHS, Behavioral Health Organizations welcome early psychosis program to Thurston, Mason counties

Release Date: 
Jan 24 2017
DSHS Office of Communications
Kelly Stowe
(360) 902-7739

New Journeys seeks to identify psychosis and begin treatment earlier for young people 

OLYMPIA- On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, Washington’s third Coordinated Specialty Care program pilot site, New Journeys, launched to help Thurston and Mason County residents ages 15 to 25 who are showing symptoms of early psychosis. 

Psychosis is a change to the brain which interferes with a person’s experience of his or her world. A person who is experiencing an episode of psychosis may exhibit symptoms such as hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs or marked irrational suspicions of others) and confused thinking (disorganized thoughts or speech, difficulty concentrating or understanding others). Approximately two to three of every 100 people will experience a psychotic episode, which is more common than many chronic diseases in youth.

Staff from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and its Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) join  Behavioral Health Resources of Olympia and the Thurston-Mason Behavioral Health Organization in sharing the innovative work being done to intervene early in psychosis.

The public is invited to attend the launch scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Lacey Community Center located at 6729 Pacific Ave. SE

“Each of us can help to intervene early by learning how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of early psychosis so effective treatment can be started as soon as possible,” said Chris Imhoff, DSHS Director of the Division of Behavioral Health.

New Journeys has two other sites in Yakima and King counties that are also operating due to partnerships between DSHS and local behavioral health organizations. 

The clinical teams at the three pilot-program sites will identify people who are experiencing early psychosis, provide a comprehensive assessment, establish a trusting relationship and help stabilize the person’s symptoms. New Journeys also helps young people and their families develop the skills, knowledge and social support needed to successfully manage their condition long term and transition to ongoing supports and services within their community.

DSHS has distributed early psychosis educational materials to 12,000 mental health, juvenile justice, school professionals, law enforcement agencies and primary care providers. These materials were designed to increase awareness of schizophrenia and psychosis, reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders which can sometimes delay a person from getting needed help and identify and refer more young people experiencing the first episodes of psychosis. 


The Behavioral Health Administration provides inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment, recovery support and prevention and intervention programs for people with mental health needs and substance use concerns. It operates three state psychiatric hospitals that deliver high-quality services to adults and children with complex needs. BHA’s team of 2,804 staff ensures that nearly 150,000 people receive needed services each year on a $910 million annual budget. 


DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.