Unique Demographics + Innovative Program = Exciting Outcomes for Indigenous Young People at Ultra-High Risk of Psychosis

Poster A7, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Carolyn Little1; 1headspace, Darwin

Treating young people at ultra-high risk of developing psychotic symptoms is an exciting prospect. This phase of the illness is associated with a diversity of mental health issues, distress and functional difficulties - especially so in young Indigenous clients. The presentation of possible psychotic symptoms is often accompanied by symptoms of depression, anxiety, personality disorder and substance misuse. Distress and functional decline can be present for some time before the formal diagnostic criteria for a psychotic disorder are met, excluding the individuals from intervention by traditional mental health services. Treatment in this early phase potentially reduces the existing symptoms and disability, improve social and vocational dysfunction and prevent or delay the onset of a psychotic disorder and minimize any alterations in brain structure that may occur during the transition from ‘at-risk’ to full threshold psychosis. My role as the first headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP) regional Clinical Director provides incredible opportunities to develop early intervention services and improve access for some of the most disadvantaged and complex Indigenous young people in Australia. This is illustrated by the presentation of a case history of a young person with a distinctly Northern Territory and Indigenous focus, emphasizing the encouraging possibilities and outcomes of a program focused on holistic early intervention.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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