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Promoting early detection of psychosis: the role of community outreach

Brenda Joly (Based at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)
Kimberly Pukstas Bernard (Based at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)
Martha Elbaum Williamson (Based at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)
Prashant Mittal (Based at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 30 November 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the effectiveness of community outreach efforts in promoting public education on the early warning signs of psychosis and in generating referrals for treatment during the prodromal stage of illness.

Design/methodology/approach

Five mental health centres across the United States implemented a community outreach model known as the Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP). A multi‐site evaluation was conducted to assess whether the model's outreach objectives could be achieved among replication sites in geographically and demographically diverse locations. The assessment included the analysis of data from three main sources: administrative data, structured qualitative interviews, and participant self‐report surveys.

Findings

Results demonstrated that the outreach activities in all five sites resulted in increased awareness of participants about the early warning signs of psychosis, the availability of local treatment options and increased knowledge of the referral process. There were benefits of outreach participation regardless of whether the participant was a professional or non‐professional in the community. Additionally, outreach participants showed a significant increase in their likelihood to refer a young adult for a mental health evaluation.

Originality/value

Community outreach can be an effective tool for mental health centres in developing a local network that can generate timely referrals for early intervention programmes and clinical research. Results also show that relatively brief community engagement efforts can significantly increase the knowledge and awareness of the public on complex mental health conditions where early detection may be integral to effective treatment.

Keywords

Citation

Joly, B., Pukstas Bernard, K., Elbaum Williamson, M. and Mittal, P. (2012), "Promoting early detection of psychosis: the role of community outreach", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 195-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465721211289374

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited