By adopting the PIER Model your agency can prevent and treat severe mental illness and contribute to the mission of reducing the toll it takes on individuals, families and communities.

If you are considering adopting the PIER Model, engaging in PIER Training & Certification, and becoming a PIER Model Program, the following questions will help you determine if the model is right for you and your organization.

Today’s society requires a new approach to mental illness. By becoming a PIER Model Program, your organization will play a central role in this mission by transforming the approach to severe mental illness and stopping its progression.

The PIER Model does not rely on traditional screenings or conservative “wait and see” approaches. Rather, it relies on concepts that require new ways of thinking about youth mental illness and the organization and management of mental health services. Community support for a new approach is essential. Teachers, doctors, clergy, police officers, legislators and parents alike will all play a role in your PIER Model Program.

As part of adopting the PIER Model, an organization must understand the advantages of early intervention. It is important to recognize that the preventative effects of identifying early signs of mental illness is similar to identifying early signs of heart disease or cancer. Your agency will work against established thinking, such as, the stigma of mental illness which prevents parents from seeking early treatment for their child and the despair and hopelessness which families feel for their loved one.

Further, it is important to realize that you can differentiate between normal adolescent and young adult behavior and real warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. An organization must also appreciate the value of family involvement in treatment and recovery. Finally, the organization must acknowledge the dramatic cost of untreated or under-treated severe mental illness to our communities, and recognize that early intervention is possible, ethical and cost effective.

This support requires, in part, a movement away from traditional care to one of early intervention and prevention. It demands learning new ways to react to troubling behaviors and recognizing the possibility that these behaviors might be important warnings signs of the onset of major mental illness. It also requires a commitment to building an alliance of support for a different approach to responding to mental illness, as well as a willingness to rely on solutions that are continuing to be improved and continuing to build evidence.
A new approach to reducing the devastating effects of mental illness requires the commitment of practitioners, policy makers, advocacy groups, schools and the community at large. When an organization signs on to become a PIER Model Program, it is recommended that the agency have full support from its management team and its leadership. Full participation and acceptance from agency members cannot be underestimated, as building an alliance of support and taking collective ownership for solutions to preventing and treating mental illness requires the acceptance and participation of all stakeholders. It takes a village to prevent psychotic disorders.
If your organization decides to become a PIER Model Program, it must allocate the proper funding and fulfill the recommended program and staffing requirements. PIER Model components, which include outreach, assessment, and treatment must be achieved in a timely and effective manner, and this depends on a commitment throughout the training and supervision cycle and beyond.
Agencies that adopt the PIER Model are charged with identifying and treating approximately 50-60 clients over a two-year project period. To properly serve the population and support the PIER Model, there is a minimum staffing requirement. Ensuring that your organization has an infrastructure in place that can offer youth and their families the level of support and care that is needed is an essential first step in deciding whether to adopt the program.
Before the task of properly identifying and evaluating the symptoms of mental illness can begin, parents, educators, physicians, justice officials and adolescents themselves must heighten their awareness and learn how to take action. As a PIER Model Program, the organization will develop a community outreach and education component, which educates key stakeholders.  Also, the agency will develop an advisory council comprised of key community stakeholders, including educational leaders, parents, medical professionals, teachers, legislators, mental health professionals and advocates, clergy and students. The successful model of early intervention and treatment relies on ensuring support from these community stakeholders.

Ready To Learn More?

If you have determined that the PIER Model is right for your agency or organization and are interested in taking the next step, or if you are simply interested in further information about family psychoeducation, or early intervention and prevention of youth mental illness, please contact us.