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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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