The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health is committed to increasing the accessibility and availability of effective information, supports, and services that take into account and respect the diverse cultural and linguistic needs of Massachusetts’ youth and young adults who are at risk for psychosis or who are experiencing the recent onset of psychosis and their families and friends.
SAMHSA recently articulated goals for states’ efforts:
- delay or prevent the onset of psychosis; and
- minimize the duration of untreated psychosis for those who develop psychotic symptoms
- improve symptomatic and behavioral functioning;
- enable youth and young adults to resume age-appropriate social, academic, and/or vocational activities;
The RAISE studies have been heralded as evidence that
- 1) there is effective treatment for youth experiencing first episode psychosis and their families and
- 2) these treatments can be delivered in ‘real world’ settings relying largely on 3rd party payments. The treatment that was found to be effective through the RAISE studies, Coordinated Specialty Care, is comprised of several discrete evidence-based practices and requires a multidisciplinary team, with specialized training in working with youth experiencing first episode psychosis and their families. SAMHSA and NIMH have prioritized the dissemination of Coordinated Specialty Care across the country. Many states have worked closely with their Medicaid office to establish specific payment rates. Others have used the block grant dollars (as Massachusetts has) to provide time for training and supervision of FEP staff and to support staff positions and activities that are not 3rd party reimbursable.
To enhance statewide efforts and improve outcomes for young people at risk or experiencing psychosis and their families, DMH is developing a Strategic Plan. As part of this effort, it will partner with the recently launched LEAP (Laboratory for Early Psychosis) Center. The LEAP Center is funded by the NIH and based at McLean Hospital. DMH and the LEAP Center will co-host a day-long conference on April 14th 2020 to review the draft Strategic Plan and make recommendations for finalizing it.
Dr. Alisa Lincoln and her team at Northeastern University will work closely with the Department of Mental Health and Massachusetts stakeholders to develop and write the Massachusetts Strategic Plan for identifying and intervening early with people at risk for or experiencing psychosis and their families with attention to the diversity of communities residing in Massachusetts.