A new Finnish study is suggesting that the overall functioning and mental health in adolescents at risk of developing psychosis can be vastly improved by family and network oriented, stress-reducing care.
Jorvi Early psychosis Recognition and Intervention (JERI) project at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH), Jorvi Hospital, Finland, is a project with an early intervention team for adolescents at risk of developing first-episode psychosis. As developing psychosis has been suggested to be a result of a combination of acute life stressors and trait-like vulnerability to psychosis, the intervention is based on the idea of multiprofessional, need-adapted, community-, family- and network-oriented, stress-reducing, overall functioning supporting and low-threshold care.
The JERI team meets with adolescents at ages 12-20 in their natural surroundings, e.g. at school or at home, together with their parents and community co-worker, who has originally contacted the JERI team because of unclear mental health problems. The aim of the team is to recognize potential risk cases and reduce the stress level by family and network intervention.
A follow-up study was performed to test how presented intervention will help adolescents at risk. Data was collected between January 2007 and May 2008. During the intervention, mean scores rose statistically significantly on overall functioning and scores on quality of life, depression, anxiety and pre-psychotic symptoms decreased statistically significantly, showing an improvement in overall functioning and mental health in adolescents at risk of developing first-episode psychosis. Adolescents did not receive other therapy or any antipsychotic medication.
"JERI- intervention seems to improve level of overall functioning and support mental health in adolescents at risk of developing first-episode psychosis, even though further study with larger number of subjects, with a proper control group and with a longer follow-up time is needed", says Dr. Niklas Granö, the leader of the research.