EDIPPP is a treatment and research initiative with the potential to dramatically improve the way we address the mental health needs of adolescents and young adults. By reaching out to people who regularly interact with youth, including family members, teachers, social workers, doctors and nurses, the program educates individuals regarding the early signs of severe mental illness so they can identify teens and young adults who are at risk. Psychosis, if not diagnosed and treated effectively, can lead to isolation, difficulty handling academics or employment, and greater risk for disability, homelessness, and/or involvement with the criminal justice system. Severe mental illness is the fifth-leading cause of disability and premature mortality among all medical disorders. EDIPPP is demonstrating that it is possible to stop severe mental illness in its tracks and put young people on a path to more normal, healthy lives.
The national EDIPPP study emerged from a model established at Maine Medical Center in 2001, the Portland Identification and Early Referral program or PIER. PIER’s success in keeping young people from going down the path toward full-fledged psychosis through its strong outreach to professionals and family members caught our eye. We were really intrigued by the results the PIER program was seeing and wondered whether this could be replicated. The idea that you don’t have to wait until kids become psychotic to intervene seemed like a promising approach that could dramatically change the way we think about how to treat mental illness. With early intervention and ongoing support, we can reduce the severity of illness, keep young people in school or at work and put them on a path to better health. The earlier we intervene, the better our outcomes will be.
Changing the way we see and treat young adults with mental illness.
The University of California at Davis is one of six sites participating in a national study of the Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP) supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Oregon is one of six sites participating in the EDIPPP study; the Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network is helping to demonstrate the effectiveness of a model for preventing psychotic illness.