Early Intervention for Young Adult Veterans with Psychosis: Recovery-Oriented Care within the San Francisco VA Health Care System

Poster C67, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Elena Bassett1,2; 1San Francisco VA Health Care System, 2University of California San Francisco

Individuals who enter the U.S. Armed Forces are at risk for the onset of psychosis, given their age as young adults and the likelihood that they will encounter high levels of stress and trauma. Among U.S. military Veterans, 4% who receive care through the Veterans Health Administration (VA) have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The Department of Defense (DoD) and VA systems are uniquely positioned to conduct early assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for Veterans with early psychosis, given the embedded structure and universal access to care. Effective early intervention could limit durations of untreated psychosis and lead to more positive prognoses. This study examines young adult Veterans with psychotic disorders referred for evidence-based psychosocial services within the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS). Data was collected over a 1-year period, examining Veterans under age 35 referred to a recovery-oriented outpatient program and/or individual CBT for psychosis (N=33). While 60% of active duty service members are between 17 and 24 years old when they are first diagnosed with schizophrenia, we found that on average, Veterans did not get referred for recovery-oriented care until around age 30. Veterans who were newly referred were 93% male and 40% had a co-occurring PTSD diagnosis. Psychosocial services utilized included individual CBTp, group psychotherapy (i.e. SST), case management, supported employment, supported education, peer support, and family education/support. Opportunities for increased outreach and coordination of specialty care for early psychosis within the SFVAHCS are explored, and implications for DoD/VA policy changes will be discussed.

Topic Area: Public Policy

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