Treatment of early symptoms of mental illness can have a profound impact on the young person’s opportunity for recovery.
With early treatment, it is possible to prevent severe mental illness or manage its worst disabilities. Adolescents and young adults can avoid the potentially devastating consequences of mental illness, allowing them to achieve their full potential.
1. Family Psychoeducation
Today, we understand the importance of family engagement in the treatment of mental illness: allowing families to work beside mental health care professionals leads to greater success.
The four treatment stages of Family Psychoeducation, originally designed for families and individuals with serious persistent illness, have been found to be successful in preventing serious mental illness during its early stage.
- Stage 1 – Engagement
- Stage 2 – In-depth education
- Stage 3 – Reversing symptoms
- Stage 4 – Improving functioning
2. Supported Education & Employment
Staying in school or in the workplace is invaluable for those experiencing the early signs of mental illness and can significantly minimize the risk of relapse.
Partnering with school and employers – a key element of PIER Model treatment – can help everyone manage symptoms, facilitate learning, and eliminate stressors that lead to relapse. Constructive, structured support on the job or during job seeking diminishes risk of relapse and leverages the beneficial aspects of employment.
Current research supports the effectiveness of medications as one part of the treatment model for youths already experiencing a psychotic episode or mood disorder. The PIER Model includes pharmacotherapy as a part of successful treatment, but only when needed. For those at risk of, but not presently experiencing psychosis, the emphasis is on health and wellness – proper sleep, diet, exercise and nutritional supplements.