Early intervention can alter lives of young adults

Early intervention can alter lives of young adults

8/4/2017 12:00:00 AM

The earlier that someone with a serious mental illness can get access to services, the better chance that person has to recover.

This is especially true for people who are experiencing a psychosis like schizophrenia. On average, people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders do not seek or receive treatment for nearly a year and a half after the onset of symptoms.

Three years ago, Wyandot Center created an "Early Intervention Team" (EIT) to reverse that trend. The program works with community partners--including schools, the criminal justice system and state and local hospitals--to offer a host of services to young Wyandotte County residents (15-25) who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis. The aim is to get them into treatment, on their terms, as soon as possible.

After three years, results from the EIT show that that trend is indeed reversing. More young people are getting help sooner, individuals in the program are staying out of the hospital, and medication compliance has increased.  :

  • The duration of untreated psychosis from January to March of 2018 was 27.4 weeks, far lower than the national average of 75 weeks.
  • More than 94% of people in the program have stayed out of the hospital. In fact, March had no new admissions or diversions!
  • Of those who chose to take medication for their medical plan, 91% have stuck with their medical plan.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the results," said Jennifer Krehbiel, EIT Leader and Clinician. "We have a great team focused on doing what we can to keep people with emerging psychoses in their communities and on a path to recovery."

A key to EIT's approach is building and maintaining positive relationships with those who chose to use the service. When meeting with a prospective consumer for the first time, EIT staff are careful to let that person determine the course of the treatment.

"We ask what their needs are, whether they want to meet with a case manager, start on medications, get therapy, or just need help with vocational skills," Jennifer said. "We listen to what their goals and desires are and build trust that way."

Once in the program, and once the consumer is more comfortable with it, a host of wrap-around services are often added to the treatment. One critical service is therapy for family members to help them better understand what their loved one is experiencing. "Those strong ties with family members or support systems often weaken or disappear because they don't understand," Jennifer said. "But having a supportive family is critical to helping a person with psychosis recover."

Randy Callstrom, President/CEO of Wyandot Inc., congratulated the EIT for its work. "Jennifer and her team are doing a tremendous job," Randy said. "Their commitment and passion for getting people timely help represents the best of what Wyandot is about: giving some of our most vulnerable residents a chance at living productive and fulfilling lives."

If you work with a consumer who you think could benefit from EIT, give Jennifer a call at 913-288-4251, or send her an email: krehbiel_j@wmhci.org