Mental health experts have reacted enthusiastically to expectations that the national plan will boost early interventions for young people with psychosis and schizophrenia.

The government is expected to set up 50 teams to give early help to those in their late teens and early 20s at the onset of mental illness. HSJ understands it will also invest£130m in more than 300 crisis teams to treat patients currently admitted to hospital.

National Schizophrenia Fellowship chief executive Cliff Prior said that for most patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, their first contact with health services was usually under section, an experience likely to 'poison the relationship'.

Dr Matt Muijen, director of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, said: 'I am a believer in early intervention: you have to catch people as soon as you can to have the best chance to make a difference.'

The plan is also expected to increase the number of clinical psychologists - by training an extra 1,000 to work in primary care. There are currently 3,700 clinical psychologists in England and Wales, and Dr Muijen urged the government 'not to waste an opportunity'. But he warned that the 'high-level' skills clinical psychologists needed to tackle the extremes of mental illness would 'lose their effectiveness' if they ended up providing low-level counselling for depression and anxiety attacks within GP practices.

However, Dr Peter Smith, chair of the National Association for Primary Care, said that bringing clinical psychologists into a GP setting would 'not be that radical' - his own Kingston practice has one.

The plan is also due to increase the number of assertive outreach teams laid out in the national service framework from 170 to 220 teams, and set up 100 women-only day centres to deal with patients suffering from depression.