Partnership Provides Services for Young Adults with Mental Disorder

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Provided by Prince William County

Research shows that three in one hundred young adults between 16 and 25 will be affected by their first episode of psychosis, a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection with reality, according to Lisa Madron, the Community Services Support Division Manager for Prince William County Community Services.

Community Services, which provides mental health, intellectual disability, substance abuse, emergency services and early intervention programs for residents of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, recently received a total $967,760 in two federal grants to help fund its “Get on Track” program for Fiscal 2015 and Fiscal 2016. The program is aimed at early detection and treatment for psychosis.

The grants, administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, will go to fund the program through a new partnership between Community Services and Community Residences, Inc., a Chantilly-based, non-profit organization with a stated goal to “empower individuals with a wide range of disabilities to live as independently and with as high a quality of life as possible.”

Early treatment for psychosis is the best thing for the young adults who are affected if they are to achieve rapid recovery and maintain mental health stability, Madron said. “Psychosis is a serious mental illness that disrupts thoughts and perceptions and it often causes cognitive impairment. If caught early, it’s very treatable, and the person can go right back to the goals that they had for themselves. The sooner they can engage in treatment, the better the prognosis and less likelihood of further psychotic relapse.”

Dr. J. Bobby Miglani, the medical director for the Prince William County Community Services Board, advocates for early treatment. “By bringing diagnostic evaluation, counseling, brain imaging, cognitive evaluation and treatment earlier in the course of illness, the hope is to limit the extent of the disability and improve functioning.”

The program will provide coordinated specialty care through a clinical team comprised of a team leader, outreach and recovery coaches, an individual placement specialist and a peer support specialist, along with a nurse and a psychiatrist. The care will include “wrap-around, comprehensive services” to young adults and those close to them, Madron said. “This particular program really focuses on engaging them into treatment quickly in their community, in their own home or in the office – wherever they’re comfortable.”

Miglani said the team approach has proven to be the best approach. “The best practices around such serious illnesses suggest that the best treatment is offered by teams where professionals with different skill sets can collaborate to evaluate and treat.”

Madron said young adults who might be facing psychosis might notice changes in their mood or perceptions. Families who notice such changes should try and get their family member help as soon as possible. “The goal is really to engage these young adults early. When they might be experiencing their first episode of psychosis, they may not know what’s happening to them. They may see changes in their perceptions, their thoughts and their moods. The family may notice some changes too, but oftentimes, it takes a while to actually get the correct diagnosis and engage them into treatment.”

Treatment is available on a “sliding fee scale,” Madron said. “Cost should not deter anyone from entering. We really want to work with these young adults. The cost can be scaled to what is affordable.”

Referrals can be made to Community Residents Inc. at 703-842-2301or call Madron at 703-792-7877.

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