News Article Details

Four area agencies win grant to treat young people at risk for developing psychosis

Akron Beacon Journal - 11/5/2018

Nov. 05--Four Summit County agencies are collaborating to treat young people at high risk to develop psychosis.

The agencies have received a $1.35 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The local group of agencies was awarded one of 21 grants nationwide.

The grant winners are Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Community Support Services, Summit County's Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board and Northeast Ohio Medical University's Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment. Together, the collaborative has taken the first initials of each agency to call its joint effort C-CAN.

C-CAN will provide training and resources to local physicians, hospitals, care facilities and schools to assist in identifying children, teens and young adults ages 10 to 25 who exhibit early signs of being at high risk for psychosis, so that they can be referred to Child Guidance for preventive treatment.

Child Guidance will begin seeing patients at its Akron office at 18 N. Forge St. on Dec. 15 for the program.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to advance the prevention revolution in mental healthcare by stepping in early to improve the overall health and wellness of individuals experiencing mental health symptoms. To do this we will utilize the distinct strengths of each of the four participating agencies, build mental health literacy in Summit County, identify persons who have a high risk for psychosis, and provide early intervention treatment," said Hattie Tracy, senior director of clinical strategy, community outreach and healthcare integration at Child Guidance in a news release.

Individuals enrolled in C-CAN's stepped-care treatment program will receive a full range of services intended to reduce the risk of conversion to a psychotic disorder. Research shows that this type of intervention and treatment significantly reduces the conversion rate to psychosis, the agencies said.

"The partner organizations for this grant have been working together since 2009 to coordinate specialty care of early psychosis treatment, thus additional funding will enhance their work and improve outcomes," said Jerry Craig, executive director of the ADM Board.

It is estimated that in Summit County, 1,040 individuals ages 10 to 25 are at high risk for psychosis, 208 of whom are likely to develop psychotic symptoms. Research shows that there is a one- to two-year period preceding the development of psychosis in which people begin to experience moderate psychotic symptoms and their social interactions start to decline. C-CAN is intended to identify those who are exhibiting the early signs of being at clinical high risk for psychosis and facilitate preventive treatment.

When someone is at clinical high risk for psychosis, the symptoms may be obvious or they may be hardly noticeable. According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, "It is the combination of several symptoms rather than any one symptom that puts a person at risk."

Such symptoms include:

--Feeling that something's not quite right

--Jumbled thoughts and confusion

--Experiencing fear for no good reason

--Hearing sounds/voices that are not there

--Declining interest in people, activities and self-care

--Having trouble communicating

The National Institute of Mental Health describes psychosis as a condition affecting the mind in which there is some loss of contact with reality. Symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, social withdrawal, depression, anxiety, sleep problems and difficulty functioning.

Psychotic illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Psychosis can happen to anyone, but is most likely to happen to people for the first time between ages of 12 and 25, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

To schedule an appointment with Child Guidance after Dec. 15, please contact Clinical Coordinator Laura Craig at 330-802-0654.

Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty.

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(c)2018 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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