Reducing delays to treatment: Models for rapid access to mental health services
Poster C112, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom
Kathleen MacDonald1,2, Srividya Iyer1,2; 1Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, 2Prevention and Early Intervention for Program for Psychosis (PEPP-Montreal)
Early intervention in mental health is grounded on the notion that intervention during the earliest stages of illness leads to optimal treatment outcomes, and reduces the potential burden and negative ramifications caused by long durations of untreated illness. Still, individuals seeking help for mental health problems often encounter complicated referral processes, long wait lists, and a disengaging first contact with services. We conducted a rapid review on service delivery models promoting easy, engaging access to mental health services. Overall, some examples include technology-based interventions (e.g, telepsychiatry); gatekeeper-models; and school-based mental health screening. We will also discuss examples of rapid access to care from the field of early intervention for psychosis, which has long had an emphasis on the reduction of delays to treatment. One such example is the entry protocol at The Prevention and Early Intervention for Psychosis Program (PEPP)-Montreal, which aims to reduce delays to care by placing a single, directly reachable clinician at the point of entry. Anyone can refer a youth without formalities to the intake clinician who responds promptly and sensitively to all help-seeking attempts. To promote accessibility, PEPP guarantees an initial assessment within 72 hours; maintains relationships with referral sources; and conducts outreach activities. This rapid entry protocol can be deployed in youth mental health services equally interested in reducing delays to treatment. Finally, a greater emphasis is required on strategies to promote the timely, engaging delivery of mental health services, in order to better serve the help-seeking population.
Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform