First Episode of Psychosis (FEP) often begins when a person is in their late teens to mid-twenties and about 100,000 adolescents and young adults in the United States experience first episode psychosis each year. The Alabama Department of Mental Health has implemented programs in the state to treat FEP and prevent chronic mental illness throughout an individual’s life.

The FEP program provides treatment to youth and young adults experiencing symptoms of early psychosis. These programs utilize well-researched, and evidence-based practices to help youth and young adults recover, complete their educational goals, locate and maintain employment, all while teaching them how to strengthen their relationships with family and support networks within their community.

The FEP program provides a coordinated array of recovery-oriented services and supports to the individual and their family. Services include family support through Multi-Family Groups, Youth and Parent Peer Supports, Supported Employment and Education (using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model), Care Coordination, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Low Dose Anti-Psychotic medication management, as needed. The two-year FEP programs utilize a coordinated care approach which emphasizes shared decision-making with the client, as the focal point of any intervention.

The department currently operates three sites that provide FEP program services in the state. NOVA-Birmingham operated by JBS Mental Health Authority, Jefferson County; NOVA-Mobile in AltaPointe, Mobile County, and NOVA-Huntsville in Wellstone, Madison County.

The NOVA FEP programs collaborate with other state agencies to include the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, as well as, the state IPS programs as a means of meeting the client's overall vocational and educational needs. Please contact April Watkins, Statewide Coordinator,, 334-353-7414 for more information.


April Watkins, Statewide Coordinator