1st Step Program

Type of Service

Early Intervention

Program Description

The earlier psychosis is identified and properly treated, the better the chances for a full recovery. The 1st Step Program of Waterloo Region and Wellington County aims to lessen the disruption due to psychosis in the lives of the individual and his/her family as well as reduce the incidence of further psychotic episodes, medical problems, social issues and relapse. The program is sponsored by CMHA, and offers on-site, community-based services in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. The 1st Step Program offers comprehensive assessment and treatment for the individual, in both individual and group treatment modalities. Extensive family education and support services are also offered. The 1st Step Program is based on a recovery model, and as a result, the determination of scope and intensity of services is based on the needs of the individual and his/her family. Model of service is recovery. Average length of stay is two to five years, depending on the needs of individual and their family.

Access Information

The 1st Step program is an immediate access service. Program criteria is: experienced recent symptoms of a first episode of psychosis or have not received previous treatment for recent psychosis; early psychosis is the primary issue or concern; limited contact with the social service system (system naïve); limited experience with prescribed medications (medication naïve); resident of Waterloo Region and/or Wellington County; and between the ages of 14 and 35. The program will make every effort to respond quickly and effectively to those individuals experiencing psychosis, and their families. Referrals will be accepted by all sources: the person in need, family, schools, hospitals, etc. The intake process includes an initial screening discussion over the phone, followed by a face to face assessment by the 1st Step Intake Clinician. Once eligibility for the program is determined, the person and his/her family will then see a psychiatrist for a full assessment, and work closely with a clinician on the 1st Step Program Team. To make a referral to the 1st Step Program, call Here 24/7.

User Costs

User Cost No

Referral Contact Information

Toll-Free 844-437-3247
Fax 844-437-3329

Clients Served

Gender All
Age 14 to 35 years of age.
Catchment Counties: (Waterloo; Wellington)
Wheelchair Access Yes


Policy Allowed

Application Referral Forms


English Interpretation Services


Main Hours

Monday 0900-1700
Tuesday 0900-1700
Wednesday 0900-1700
Thursday 0900-1700
Friday 0900-1700

Evening groups available.