Changes in community providers' screening behaviours, referral practices, and clinical confidence following participation in an early psychosis educational campaign

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Early intervention in psychiatry

MeSH Headings

Adolescent; Humans; Mass Screening; Psychotic Disorders (diagnosis, therapy); Referral and Consultation; Surveys and Questionnaires


AIM: Successful delivery of care to individuals with early psychosis depends on the ability of community providers to identify and refer appropriate candidates for services. Although specialty centres commonly rely upon education and outreach campaigns to building bridges with community providers, few studies have examined the effectiveness of these campaigns or the mechanisms by which they may achieve their intended effects. METHODS: We surveyed community clinicians (N = 39) about their screening behaviours, referral practices, and confidence in managing early psychosis just before and 3-6 months after attending an educational event designed to promote recognition and quality treatment of early psychosis. RESULTS: Three to six months following attendance, providers reported screening a greater proportion of clients for early psychosis, referring a greater number of clients to specialty services, and feeling more confident in their ability to respond to clients with early psychosis. Increases in confidence following attendance were associated with corresponding increases in screening behaviour. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that outreach campaigns designed to enhance community providers' knowledge about early psychosis assessment and resources may be effective in promoting screening, referrals, and confidence in managing psychosis. Gains in provider confidence may contribute to increases in screening. Given the lack of control group and relatively short follow-up period, more research is needed to determine the effects of early psychosis educational events and the mechanisms by which they may promote successful treatment delivery for young people in need.

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