[Early Intervention for Psychosis from Past to Future: Overcoming Implementation Challenges to Maximize its Impact?]

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sante Ment Que, Volume 46, Issue 2, p.391-415 (2021)


<p>Objectives The emergence of early intervention for first episode psychosis (FEP) in the 1990s represents a major advance in mental health. It was demonstrated that by providing intensive interventions tailored to the specific needs of youth at the onset of FEP, it became possible to sustainably improve their subsequent course. This model of early intervention for psychosis (EIP) is accompanied by a major revision of conceptions of psychotic disorders and a major change in philosophy of care. The purpose of this article is to provide a historical perspective on the development of EIP, to discuss the challenges associated with its implementation, and to offer possible solutions. Methods Experts consensus identifying the most salient challenges in implementing Early intervention for psychosis, and proposing the most feasible solutions, based on their assessment of the literature to address them. Results To optimize the implementation and efficiency of EIP programs, 7 avenues were identified: 1) Better targeting of hard-to-reach populations and systematizing the admission of all FEP patients in EIP programs. 2) Reducing the duration of untreated psychosis should be a major goal of EIP programs, requiring early detection efforts through public awareness, training of front-line professionals, and improving treatment access processes and delays. 3) Measures to maintain patient engagement in a follow-up should be implemented systematically. 4) Family involvement should be more actively supported by teams throughout follow-up, including strategies to promote patient acceptance of their involvement. 5) Future research will provide a better understanding of how to modulate the duration and intensity of EIP follow-up according to patient profiles, in particular in order to maintain the results achieved during PPEP over the longer term. 6) The modalities for managing at-risk mental states remain to be clarified, both in terms of the approaches to be offered to them and the health care structure that would be most appropriate to accommodate them. 7) The implementation of EIP programs must be continued, particularly in the French-speaking world, which is at very different stages from one country to another and even within each country. Conclusion EIP improve the outcomes of youth with FEP in terms of recovery, mortality and suicide. Solutions to challenges encountered in their widespread implementation must be operationalized to ensure that this care is accessible to the greatest number of people in a timely manner to maximize its impact at the population level.</p>

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