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Psychosis Care


The UNM Health System in Albuquerque can help your family when a loved one, aged 12 to 30 years old, is struggling with worrisome changes in thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

We offer two programs that focus on taking care of symptoms that may lead to the onset of a serious mental health disorder. 

  • The Collaborative Interdisciplinary Evaluation and Community Treatment Program, known as CONNECT, at UNM Health in Albuquerque is for individuals aged 12-25 who are having worrisome changes in their thoughts, experiences or feelings.
  • The Early Program is for individuals aged 15-30 experiencing a first episode psychosis within the past 12 months. First episode psychosis refers to the first time someone experiences psychotic symptoms or a psychotic episode. 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.
The programs will quickly connect you to the help your family needs, whether you’re starting to notice changes, or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of psychosis for the first time.

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 a number of symptoms resulting in a person losing touch with reality. These symptoms affect the mind and alter someone’s thinking, ideas and perceptions.

Three out of 100 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

Our Services

The Early Program provides a range of services to help you or your loved one find the help you need. Among the services we provide are:

Assessment and Psychiatric Services - A clinical evaluation is the first step in determining if your symptoms may be the result of early psychosis.

Medication Management - When recommended as part of your overall treatment plan, our psychiatrists can prescribe and monitor medications.

Family Psychoeducation Services - It’s important for loved ones to know what you are going through. We offer a range of support services to help.

Counseling - Talking with a counselor may help you feel less alone and can play an important role in the critical early phases of treatment.

Comprehensive Community Support Services - You are not alone. We will help you coordinate with a variety of local programs, services and support in your community.

Supported Employment and Education - Achieving your goals is an important part of recovery. We can help you 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.

Your Appointment

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. 

Research Participation

There may be opportunities available for you to participate in research related to your symptoms. If you are interested in learning more, call the research team at 505-272-9552 or 505-272-3507.

Contact Us

1-888-NM-EARLY (1-888-663-2759)

Location

UNM Psychiatric Center

2600 Marble NE

Albuquerque, NM 87106

Hours

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Help is Available

If you’re experiencing feelings of self-harm or suicide, please seek help immediately. Friends and family should familiarize themselves with crises lines, nearest hospitals or emergency services, and calling 911.
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

Cultural Considerations

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

Ghost Sickness (Native American)

Certain 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.

Akamba (Kenya)

Persons can be possessed by the spirits of ancestors, or aimu, in ecstatic rituals.

Hallucinogenic state (Ecuador)

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

Ukuthwasa (West Africa)

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

Amafufunyana (West Africa)

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

Nervios (Mexican/Mexican American)

Refers to a wide range of mental illness and psychological distress.

Bouffée Délirante (France)

Marked by transient psychosis with elements of trance or dream states.

Involutional Paraphrenia (Spain and Germany)

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

Amok (Southeast Asia and Malaysia)

Marked by a sudden rampage, usually including homicide and suicide, ending with exhaustion and amnesia.

Colera (Guatemala)

Marked by violent outbursts, hallucinations, delusions and temper tantrums.

Latah (Southeast Asia)

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


References
• Versola-Russo, J. M. (2006). Cultural and Demographic Factors of Schizophrenia. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. 10 (2), 89-103
• "Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia," The British Psychological Society, Division of Clinical Psychology

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