Journey into and through an early detection of psychosis service: the subjective experience of persons at risk of developing psychosis


Dr Kate V. Hardy, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, 401 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA. Email:


Aim: This study aimed to explore how persons who have been assessed as being at risk of developing psychosis make sense of and understand their experiences, using a qualitative approach.

Methods: The sample comprised six female and four male participants (n = 10), ranging in age from 16 to 30 years, with a mean age of 21.8 years. All the participants had entered into a National Health Service Early Detection service in the North of England, which provides interventions for persons assessed as being at a high risk of developing psychosis. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted to study how persons at risk of developing psychosis construct their understanding and perception of their experiences.

Results: The analyses identified three central themes: (i) ‘perception of needs’, which highlighted how participants recognized the need to enter services and how they identified what they required from the service; (ii) participants' subjective journey; and (iii) participants' orientation to the future.

Conclusions: The journey described by participants assessed as being at risk of developing psychosis provides further insight into how persons make sense of their experiences from a qualitative ‘insider’ perspective. The findings are discussed in relation to the existing literature relating to the early detection and intervention of psychosis and clinical implications are identified.