Psychosis Programs

The UNM Health System in Albuquerque can help your family when a loved one, aged 15 to 30 years old, is struggling with worrisome changes in thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

If you’re experiencing feelings of self-harm or suicide, please seek help immediately.  Friends and family should familiarize themselves with the resources below.

If you need someone to talk to, call one of the local crisis lines:

  • New Mexico Crisis and Access Line: 1-855-662-7474 Toll free, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • New Mexico Peer-to-Peer Warmline: 1-855-466-7100
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988 24/7  Free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

Early First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Program

UNM offers the only First Episode Psychosis Program in all of New Mexico.  

The Early First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Program is for individuals aged 15-30 who experienced a first-time psychosis episode within the past 12 months. First episode psychosis refers to the first time someone experiences a psychotic episode or symptoms. People experiencing a first episode may not understand what is happening. The symptoms can be highly disturbing and unfamiliar, leaving the person confused and distressed.

In the program, we offer the following services:

  • Assessment and Psychiatric Services - A clinical evaluation is the first step in determining if symptoms may be the result of early psychosis.
  • Medication Management - When recommended as part of the overall treatment plan, our psychiatrists can prescribe and monitor medications.
  • Family Psychoeducation Services - It’s important for loved ones to know what patients are going through. We offer a range of services to support the whole family.
  • Counseling - Talking with a counselor may help patients feel less alone and can play an important role in the critical early phases of treatment.
  • Comprehensive Community Support Services - We help patients coordinate with a variety of local programs, services and support in their community.
  • Supported Employment and Education - Achieving goals is an important part of recovery. We can help develop coping strategies for work and school.
  • Outreach - We help the community understand emotional and behavioral health, reduce misconceptions and change negative attitudes.
  • Referrals - When needed, we can provide recommendations for medical care, neurology evaluation and substance abuse treatment.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a set of symptoms that can affect how a person thinks and feels and how they perceive the world around them. It indicates several symptoms resulting in a person losing touch with reality. These symptoms affect the mind and alter someone’s thinking, ideas and perceptions. 

Approximately 3% of people will have symptoms of psychosis in their lifetime, yet many are afraid to get the help they need.

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions 
  • Confused thinking 
  • Isolation 
  • Nervousness/fear/anxiety 
  • Sleeplessness 
  • Lack of energy/motivation 
  • Decline in functioning 
  • Disorganized behaviors 
  • Sadness/depression 
  • Self-harm 
  • Suicidal thoughts

Getting Behavioral Health Care

You can find our programs on the University of New Mexico Health Sciences campus. We accept referrals from anyone in the community, including self-referrals.

We also work with UNM Children’s Psychiatric Center, UNM Health’s Psychiatric Center, and the UNM School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.

Contact Early First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Program at:

1 (888) NM –EARLY (1-888-663 -2759

Take the Next Step

Receive a diagnosis and treatment. Schedule an appointment by calling us at 888-663-2759 or

Cultural Behavioral Health Considerations

Let your providers know about your cultural and religious background so they can help ensure that your treatment best meets your needs. Some cultural experiences may be similar to the concept of psychosis.

Some Native American cultures may view symptoms of psychosis as related to spiritual connection; symptoms include weakness, dizziness, fainting, anxiety, hallucinations, confusion and loss of appetite from the action of evil forces.

Patients with akamba are believed to be possessed by the spirits of ancestors, or aimu, in ecstatic rituals.

The Quichua Indians use plant-derived hallucinogens, such as ayahuasca, and invite spirit animals such as jaguars to take over their mind. In this hallucinogenic state, they often perform elaborate healing rituals for community members in emotional and physical distress.

Symptoms of ukuthwasa include social withdrawal, irritability, restlessness, and appearing to respond to auditory hallucinations.

A hysterical condition characterized by people who speak in a strange muffled voice, cannot be understood and have unpredictable behavior, amafufunyana is believed to be induced by sorcery that led to possession by multiple spirits that may then speak through the individual (“speaking in tongues”).

Nervios refers to a wide range of mental illness and psychological distress.

This is marked by transient psychosis with elements of trance or dream states.

This refers to a paranoid disorder that occurs in midlife and has features of, yet is distinct from, schizophrenia.

Patients with amok experience a sudden violent rampage, ending with exhaustion and amnesia.

Colera is marked by violent outbursts, hallucinations, delusions and temper tantrums.

Latah is marked by automatic obedience reaction with echopraxia (involuntary repetition or imitation of another person's actions) and echolalia (involuntary repetition of sounds and language).