In 2006, Felton Institute and its Family Service Agency of San Francisco partnered with a pioneering group of researchers at the University of California San Francisco to review effective new approaches to schizophrenia being developed by researchers around the world that were not yet reaching patients. The partnership was formed with shared a vision of what could be done by relying upon research and the experience of other exemplary programs to guide the way. They identified five practices with proven results in treating early psychosis and wove them together into an evidence-based suite of services designed to achieve synergy from their cumulative impact. The result was the Felton Early Psychosis Programs, an innovative, strengths-based treatment model for community settings launched in 2008 with a view to effectively and stably remitting schizophrenia.

The Felton Early Psychosis Programs is funded in part through a prestigious Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Innovation Fund Award. In 2014, Felton Early Psychosis Programs are recognized by the National Council for Behavioral Health with a Science to Service Award for inspiring hope, leadership, and impact in mental health field. Early outcomes results show that Felton Early Psychosis Programs clients’ hospitalizations and emergency room visits were reduced by 70% in after one year of treatment, saving counties over $15,000 per year per client.

Felton Early Psychosis Programs borrows from effective programs operating in England, Australia, Maine, and Oregon. Initially utilizing funding from the Gap, Wells Fargo, the Margoes Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and support from Felton’s annual fund. Felton Early Psychosis Programs is currently funded in three counties with California Mental Health Services Act funding (MHSA), including the 20% earmarked for prevention and early intervention strategies. The two remaining counties are funded through a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Health Care Innovation Awards, both counties anticipated to continue funding after the award ends.

First launched in San Francisco, Felton Early Psychosis Programs has provided diagnosis and assessment to over 500 individuals in five Northern and Central California Counties and treatment to over 250 individuals. Felton Early Psychosis Programs is the most comprehensive treatment program for early psychosis west of the Eastern seaboard. Felton and UCSF are now working to adapt the Felton Early Psychosis Programs model to treat bi-polar I (also known as manic-depression) through the BEAM program.