The early intervention team support young people and families who have experienced a range of emotional and psychological difficulties usually described as psychosis. Psychosis can have a distressing effect on many areas of a person's life including relationships and social opportunities. We work with young people from the age of 14 to 35 years old for 3 years which can be extended to 5 years.
What We Did
The early intervention team support young people and families who have experienced a range of emotional and psychological difficulties usually described as psychosis. Psychosis can have a distressing effect on many areas of a person’s life including relationships and social opportunities. We work with young people from the age of 14 to 35 years old for 3 years which can be extended to 5 years.
We are a small team, three mental health nurses, one who is the manager and one who is also a general nurse, one social worker, one occupational therapist, one part time consultant psychiatrist and one part time cognitive behaviour therapist and a support worker. We offer physical well-being checks, family work, talking therapy, education/employment/benefits/housing and training, social inclusion, medication, supporting carers and families and provide information of our service to the wider community and other voluntary and professional groups. We provide support to young people who are identified at risk of suspected psychosis or are a first episode psychosis.
The team have recently developed clear pathways and a check list of suspected psychosis that are streamlined for efficiency and effective care pathways to ensure service users needs are met or signposted to the relevant service . The team also provide a free service to Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) transitioning young people that are identified by CAMHS into adult mental health services working with the young person for 6 months to identify needs and build the relationship for a smooth transition.
The team are very passionate about making a difference to young people, providing them with the skills to get back on track with their lives with the ethos of being for clients to self manage and remain out of acute mental health services working in a positive risk environment transferring to the community team if required.
An example of making a difference is a young male, 18 years old whom I worked with had a psychotic episode and due to a chaotic lifestyle relapsed on a number of occasions, he was street homeless, using substances, limited support network, not in education, he had a short stay in prison. EIT have worked with this young man for 4 years, he has been placed under a section of the mental health act (1983) on numerous occasions and in a locked rehab unit for a year and when back in the community placed on a Community Treatment Order. He now has his own flat, applying for a college placement, he has not been an inpatient for over a year and regarded off the CTO and quite mentally well. The team are flexible and provide free educationally information on exam stress/anxiety management, general mental health and their time to schools in doing this, plus colleges and other professional groups for example the NSPCC
Wider Active Support
The early intervention team works with the local schools offering mental health expertise in the form of presentations for students, which are often interactive to aid the students to recognise their own mental health and general wellbeing. This free service provides young people in the community with resources for both self-help and local services which can support them and their mental health. We also provide the students with further information such as useful leaflets, Apps which they can access and other self-help resources such as websites.
We also provide talks to local schools and colleges during Exam’s as most students will experience a high level of stress during this time; we often leave our stand in colleges with a variety of resources for young people such as leaflets and further information of where they can seek support. This allows the young person the opportunity to access resources without feeling under pressure and also aids the reduction of stigma within mental health.
A further area which we are currently working in is a group based in the community for individuals who use the service, this is to promote social inclusion and allow service users to meet others who may be faced with the same difficulties so they can share their experiences. Furthermore we also offer a walking group for our service users which many partake in, this allows the service users a place to be more active with others whom encourage a healthy lifestyle; whilst also recognising each service user needs. This often provides a ‘gate way’ to change, as the service user discovers a desire to become more active.
The early intervention team also work with a group called Smiles which is part of the NSPCC, the group works with parents whom either have a mental health illness or their partner suffer with ill mental health and their children. The early intervention team co-facilitate this group and primarily work with the parents of the group, offering mental health expertise including guidance and advice. The aim of the group is to support the children to talk about their experiences with other children who are faced with similar situation. Smiles also work with parents to help them understand the impact of their illness on their child and to improve their parenting skills to provide a safe, secure and supportive family environment.
We have also started to aid the creation of a Youth mental health forum which we hope will be based in schools and colleges; the forum is to engage young people to talk about their mental health with their peers in a ‘safe space’.
We provide services users with feedback forms, comments below;
Comments from service users;
Our services users said….
“Team have been excellent. Very understanding and very helpful”
“I would like to thank you very much because you have helped me.”
“Extremely helpful, listened to everything I had to say whilst giving supportive professional help. Felt like I’ve really been looked after.”
“I would like to thank you very much because you have helped me.”
“I really like Amanda and Ali. I will definitely recommend my friends and family if they need help. I have been helped such a lot. I feel more confident about talking about what issues I have. I was unsure when I first starting meeting you because I did”
We have service users involved in the recruitment of new staff . EIT regularly attend EIT conference regionally meetings for new devolvement’s
Looking Back/Challenges Faced
Over the last 5 years the team has gone though a transition of having a new manager and developing new pathways with new services implemented. Having a clear pathway for FEP and at risk of psychosis and the check list for psychosis that is streamlined has made a difference to people accessing the service and also for staff working in the service. Challenges faced before these were in place is that it identified people met the criteria that had other mental health conditions.
As a service we recognise the need for continuity of service for our clients to increase engagement and service effectiveness. In order to maintain this positive service we have designed a checklist for early warning signs of psychosis, the theory behind this was to ensure the service users in need where assessed quickly so they could be provided with the appropriate service. Furthermore, we have now developed 2 pathways within the service to increase effectiveness for both clinician and the service user. One being the at risk mental state (ARMS) pathway which focuses on working with individuals who are at risk of developing psychosis. The second pathway focuses on individuals who have had a first episode of psychosis (FEP). Both pathways guide the practitioner to use best practice intervention which can support the individual.
Evaluation (Peer or Academic)
The service is in the process of documenting all outcomes of service users, for example those transferred back to their GP and no longer in acute mental health services. EIT’s to have this audited /regionally/nationally to see what a difference it is making to service users and mental health services in general.
We share the checklist of suspected psychosis with CAMHS. We provide information to the wider community on general mental health and psychosis using interactive methods and not a power point. We share resources to access and download. We regularly attend regional EIP conferences sharing information and providing feedback on our service
The early intervention team has improved outcomes through developing service pathways and an early warning sign checklist for psychosis which has been shared with other areas of the organisation. The early intervention team are very passionate about supporting individuals out of mental health services through a person centred led course of recovery, which empowers the individual to take charge of their recovery with the support of professionals.
EIT has given team members opportunities to further their career and develop their skills undertaking modules at University and developing interventions to help service users move forward with their lives