Introduction to the Special Issue

In this editorial that acts as an introduction to a special issue of Adolescent Psychiatry, the authors describe the relevance of the issue's focus on topics relative to prodromal symptoms, or to individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for a first psychotic episode.

The prodromal stage has had increasing focus of international research over recent years, and recognition of the importance of early detection and intervention of psychotic disorders has similarly increased. Public health approaches to mental health conditions have been slow developing because of challenges in screening and diagnosis, stigma, resources, and treatment effectiveness—but as successful models for early detection have spread, focus on models for screening and early intervention has increased.

This issue of Adolescent Psychiatry aims to contribute to existing CHR research and update psychiatrists and other mental health professionals working with adolescents. It also presents the intervention model of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Early Detection and Intervention of Psychosis Program.

The authors argue that even though it is as yet unclear how to classify prodromal symptoms, many mental health professionals will treat patients exhibiting such symptoms. It is therefore important to bend as much data and experience as possible toward effective and early treatment of patients in need.