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New Research in Mental Health Points to a Hopeful Future

Early Intervention 

Just like with heart disease or cancer, early intervention is key. The sooner providers begin treating people with mental health conditions, the better people fare. Growing bodies of research show that early intervention for those experiencing their first onset of illnesses like depression, psychosis, addiction, and eating disorders helps people respond more quickly, allowing them to resume their lives at school or work.  cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

“This is a newer concept in psychiatry, but it shouldn’t be. The earlier you can intervene, the better patients’ long-term health will be,” says Suzanne Jasberg, MD, a PrairieCare adult psychiatrist and director of its First Episode Psychosis Adult Clinic. The Edina clinic offers intensive outpatient treatment using a team approach when people are first experiencing symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations. Its holistic approach provides the full spectrum of services people need to return successfully to their lives, including medication management, individual therapy, family support and education, and employment support.  cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

Jasberg based the program on research demonstrating that an all-encompassing, early approach reduces the length of the illness and improves symptom management. “Brain imaging studies show that long durations of untreated psychosis compared to short durations show evidence of brain changes for people who are ill for long periods of time,” she adds. cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

Jennifer Joseph, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Behavior Therapy Solutions in Woodbury, also is influenced by research on early intervention. Such treatment can impact the course of disorders like autism, anxiety, depression, or ADHD, preventing them from developing deep roots or softening their impact. “If we don’t do early intervention, these issues can continue into early adulthood,” she says. “We’re intervening to lessen their symptoms and help them learn skills they can carry into adulthood.” cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

The clinic’s evidence-based approach involves assessments to guide diagnosis, treatment planning, behavioral interventions, and ongoing monitoring—individualizing therapy for each child. For children with anxiety or depression, Joseph teaches them to recognize when they are having anxious feelings or self-defeating thoughts and learn alternatives to negative or catastrophic thinking, using things like mindfulness. She also assists kids in developing problem-solving skills, arming them with the tools they need to function more effectively socially and emotionally.  cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

Early intervention is especially critical when 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 will develop a mental health condition, and the average delay between onset of symptoms and treatment is eight to 10 years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Joseph sees hope in stronger collaborations between mental health and primary care providers, who refer patients back and forth, and consult each other on approaches to treatment. cool stuff for guys cool stuff to buy cool stuff for kids cool stuff to make

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