09:03am Tuesday 02 June 2020

UC Davis to provide early mental-health intervention for Sacramento County youth with psychosis

The program, Sacramento County Early Diagnosis and Preventive Treatment, or SacEDAPT, will focus on providing early intervention services for young people in the early stages of schizophrenia in order to avert the damage caused by long-term severe psychotic episodes.

“We will provide services that will not just manage the person’s symptoms but help provide family and community support to help clients remain engaged in educational and employment activities and to maintain their level of functioning as they learn to manage their symptoms,” said Cameron Carter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-director of the SacEDAPT program.

“This is an entirely new resource for young people in Sacramento County that we hope will have a positive impact on their lives and their families,” he said.

The three-year contract will provide early intervention outpatient services for approximately 120 people between the ages of 12 and 25 years old who are eligible to receive treatment through Sacramento County Mental Health Services, Carter said. The services will come online in late June or early July.

“We are very excited about this project and resource in our community,” said Michelle Callejas, Sacramento County’s Mental Health Services Act program manager.

“Identifying and treating symptoms in the early stages of the onset of psychosis significantly improves the chances for young people to lead successful lives. UC Davis has demonstrated efficacy with serving this population as well as providing outreach and education to diverse community about early warning signs.  We are proud to be partnering with them on this important program,” Callejas said.

The services will be offered on the UC Davis Sacramento campus, where the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences currently offers similar services to its patients. The program is nationally recognized as a leader in early psychosis care that uses cutting-edge assessment techniques to identify at-risk individuals early in their illnesses and provide comprehensive, evidence-based treatment. 

The SacEDAPT program will target two different populations, people who have developed a serious mental illness during the past year and individuals who may be at high risk of developing a serious mental illness, as determined by new clinical assessment tools.

SacEDAPT will use “gold standard assessment measures” to determine whether an individual is at clinical high risk for psychosis due to the recent onset of sub-threshold psychotic symptoms, or within the first year after onset of full-blown psychotic illness, Carter said.

Carter said that EDAPT is a new model for delivering mental-health services for the seriously mentally ill, taking more of a preventive approach and targeting reducing the need for more intensive services in the future.

“The rationale is that you really prevent the damage from having a long-term mental illness if you are able to provide family support, community support, case management, medication management and the array of services needed to allow the individual to remain functional,” Carter said.

He said that in contrast with the national average of almost two years of untreated psychosis prior to diagnosis, a typical EDAPT client is seen two to three months after symptom onset and often prior to any hospitalization. Since its establishment in 2005 the program has screened over 1,300 clients though the UC Davis EDAPT program.

The funding for the program is from a contract with Sacramento County Health and Human Services through a grant from the state of California Mental Health Services Act. The contract is scheduled to go before the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors this spring.

UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country’s best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician’s practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children’s hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit healthsystem.ucdavis.edu.

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