Referral Pathways for Youth Seeking Help for Mental Distress

Poster B76, Tuesday, October 9, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Kali Brummitt1, Jean Addington1; 1University of Calgary

The majority of serious mental illnesses begin in adolescence or young adulthood. These young people often present with mixed symptom patterns or brief or undifferentiated symptoms several months or even years before the development of a diagnosable mental disorder. It is important to find ways to identify these young people early so that we can learn more about the factors that may predict later mental illness and offer early intervention. Studies on recruitment in this population have identified strategies focused on the education of mental and general health professionals, and on public health outreach and advertising. We utilized data from our “At Risk for Mental Illness” research group where we are running three large studies on young people at risk of mental illness. The research group had targeted recruitment strategies to healthcare professionals, some school outreach, and widespread public advertising in buses, trains and public places. The aim of this project was to examine referral sources by age group, and clinical stage of risk in order to understand where referrals came from, how people heard of the recruitment and to gain information to guide further recruitment activities. The majority of referrals came from community mental health services (CMHS) and family or self. CMHS referred more individuals with an attenuated syndrome whereas family and self referrals tended to be more individuals with mild symptoms and in distress.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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