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Many individuals with first-episode psychosis experience severe and persistent social disability despite receiving specialist early intervention. The SUPEREDEN3 trial assessed whether augmenting early intervention in psychosis services with Social Recovery Therapy (SRT) would lead to better social recovery.
A qualitative process evaluation was conducted to explore implementation and mechanisms of SRT impact from the perspective of SUPEREDEN3 participants.
A subsample of SUPEREDEN3 trial participants (n = 19) took part in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Trial participants were early intervention service users aged 16–35 years with severe and persistent social disability. Both SRT plus early intervention and early intervention alone arm participants were interviewed to facilitate better understanding of the context in which SRT was delivered and to aid identification of mechanisms specific to SRT.
The six themes identified were used to generate an explanatory model of SRT’s enhancement of social recovery. Participant experiences highlight the importance of the therapist cultivating increased self-understanding and assertively encouraging clients to face feared situations in a way that is perceived as supportive, while managing ongoing symptoms. The sense of achievement generated by reaching targets linked to personally meaningful goals promotes increased self-agency, and generates hope and optimism.
The findings suggest potentially important processes through which social recovery was enhanced in this trial, which will be valuable in ensuring the benefits observed can be replicated. Participant accounts provide hope that, with the right support, even clients who have persistent symptoms and the most severe disability can make a good social recovery.
Psychosis is a major mental illness with first onset in young adults. The prognosis is poor in around half of the people affected, and difficult to predict. The few tools available to predict prognosis have major weaknesses which limit their use in clinical practice. We aimed to develop and validate a risk prediction model of symptom non-remission in first-episode psychosis.
Our development cohort consisted of 1027 patients with first-episode psychosis recruited between 2005 to 2010 from 14 early intervention services across the National Health Service in England. Our validation cohort consisted of 399 patients with first-episode psychosis recruited between 2006 to 2009 from a further 11 English early intervention services. The one-year non-remission rate was 52% and 54% in the development and validation cohorts, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression was used to develop a risk prediction model for non-remission, which was externally validated.
The prediction model showed good discrimination (C-statistic of 0.74 (0.72, 0.76) and adequate calibration with intercept alpha of 0.13 (0.03, 0.23) and slope beta of 0.99 (0.87, 1.12). Our model improved the net-benefit by 16% at a risk threshold of 50%, equivalent to 16 more detected non-remitted first-episode psychosis individuals per 100 without incorrectly classifying remitted cases.
Once prospectively validated, our first episode psychosis prediction model could help identify patients at increased risk of non-remission at initial clinical contact.
There is global interest in the reconfiguration of community mental health services, including primary care, to improve clinical and cost effectiveness.
This study seeks to describe patterns of service use, continuity of care, health risks, physical healthcare monitoring and the balance between primary and secondary mental healthcare for people with severe mental illness in receipt of secondary mental healthcare in the UK.
We conducted an epidemiological medical records review in three UK sites. We identified 297 cases randomly selected from the three participating mental health services. Data were manually extracted from electronic patient medical records from both secondary and primary care, for a 2-year period (2012–2014). Continuous data were summarised by mean and s.d. or median and interquartile range (IQR). Categorical data were summarised as percentages.
The majority of care was from secondary care practitioners: of the 18 210 direct contacts recorded, 76% were from secondary care (median, 36.5; IQR, 14–68) and 24% were from primary care (median, 10; IQR, 5–20). There was evidence of poor longitudinal continuity: in primary care, 31% of people had poor longitudinal continuity (Modified Modified Continuity Index ≤0.5), and 43% had a single named care coordinator in secondary care services over the 2 years.
The study indicates scope for improvement in supporting mental health service delivery in primary care. Greater knowledge of how care is organised presents an opportunity to ensure some rebalancing of the care that all people with severe mental illness receive, when they need it. A future publication will examine differences between the three sites that participated in this study.
Treatment resistance causes significant burden in psychosis. Clozapine is the only evidence-based pharmacologic intervention available for people with treatment-resistant schizophrenia; current guidelines recommend commencement after two unsuccessful trials of standard antipsychotics.
This paper aims to explore the prevalence of treatment resistance and pathways to commencement of clozapine in UK early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services.
Data were taken from the National Evaluation of the Development and Impact of Early Intervention Services study (N = 1027) and included demographics, medication history and psychosis symptoms measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Prescribing patterns and pathways to clozapine were examined. We adopted a strict criterion for treatment resistance, defined as persistent elevated positive symptoms (a PANSS positive score ≥16, equating to at least two items of at least moderate severity), across three time points.
A total of 143 (18.1%) participants met the definition of treatment resistance of having continuous positive symptoms over 12 months, despite treatment in EIP services. Sixty-one (7.7%) participants were treatment resistant and eligible for clozapine, having had two trials of standard antipsychotics; however, only 25 (2.4%) were prescribed clozapine over the 12-month study period. Treatment-resistant participants were more likely to be prescribed additional antipsychotic medication and polypharmacy, instead of clozapine.
Prevalent treatment resistance was observed in UK EIP services, but prescription of polypharmacy was much more common than clozapine. Significant delays in the commencement of clozapine may reflect a missed opportunity to promote recovery in this critical period.
Risk of psychosis is defined by the presence of positive psychotic-like symptoms, by subtle self-perceived cognitive and perceptual deficiencies, or by decreased functioning with familial risk of psychosis. We studied the associations of psychiatric outpatients' self-reported functioning and interpersonal relationships with vulnerability to and risk of psychosis.
A total of 790 young patients attending psychiatric outpatient care completed the PROD screen [Heinimaa M, Salokangas RKR, Ristkari T, Plathin M, Huttunen J, Ilonen T, et al. PROD-screen – a screen for prodromal symptoms of psychosis. Int J Meth Psychiatr Res 2003;12:92–04.], including questions on functioning, interpersonal relationships and subtle specific (psychotic-like) and non-specific symptoms. Vulnerability to psychosis was assessed employing the patient's written descriptions of specific symptoms. Of the patients vulnerable to psychosis, those at current risk of psychosis were assessed using the Bonn Scale for Assessment of Basic Symptoms [Schultze-Lutter F, Klosterkötter J. Bonn scale for assessment of basic symptoms – prediction list, BSABS-P. Cologne: University of Cologne; 2002] and the Structured Interview for Positive symptoms [Miller TJ, McGlashan TH, Rosen JL, Somjee L, Markovich PJ, Stein K, et al. Prospective diagnosis of the initial prodrome for schizophrenia based on the structured interview for prodromal syndromes: preliminary evidence of interrater reliability and predictive validity. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:863–65.].
In all, 219 patients vulnerable to and 55 patients at current risk of psychosis were identified. Vulnerability to psychosis was associated with all items of functioning and interpersonal relationships. Current risk of psychosis, however, was associated only with the subjectively reported negative attitude of others. Negative attitude of others was also associated with feelings of reference at both vulnerability and risk levels.
The subjective experience of negative attitude of others towards oneself may be an early indicator of psychotic development.
The SUPEREDEN3 study, a phase II randomized controlled trial, suggests that social recovery therapy (SRT) is useful in improving functional outcomes in people with first episode psychosis. SRT incorporates cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques with case management and employment support, and therefore has a different emphasis to traditional CBT for psychosis, requiring a new adherence tool.
This paper describes the SRT adherence checklist and content of the therapy delivered in the SUPEREDEN3 trial, outlining the frequency of SRT techniques and proportion of participants who received a full therapy dose. It was hypothesized that behavioural techniques would be used frequently, consistent with the behavioural emphasis of SRT.
Research therapists completed an adherence checklist after each therapy session, endorsing elements of SRT present. Data from 1236 therapy sessions were reviewed to determine whether participants received full, partial or no therapy dose.
Of the 75 participants randomized to receive SRT, 57.3% received a full dose, 24% a partial dose, and 18.7% received no dose. Behavioural techniques were endorsed in 50.5% of sessions, with cognitive techniques endorsed in 34.9% of sessions.
This report describes an adherence checklist which should be used when delivering SRT in both research and clinical practice. As hypothesized, behavioural techniques were a prominent feature of the SRT delivered in SUPEREDEN3, consistent with the behavioural emphasis of the approach. The use of this adherence tool would be considered essential for anyone delivering SRT looking to ensure adherence to the model.
Acting on harmful command hallucinations is a major clinical concern. Our COMMAND CBT trial approximately halved the rate of harmful compliance (OR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.23–0.88, p = 0.021). The focus of the therapy was a single mechanism, the power dimension of voice appraisal, was also significantly reduced. We hypothesised that voice power differential (between voice and voice hearer) was the mediator of the treatment effect.
The trial sample (n = 197) was used. A logistic regression model predicting 18-month compliance was used to identify predictors, and an exploratory principal component analysis (PCA) of baseline variables used as potential predictors (confounders) in their own right. Stata's paramed command used to obtain estimates of the direct, indirect and total effects of treatment.
Voice omnipotence was the best predictor although the PCA identified a highly predictive cognitive-affective dimension comprising: voices’ power, childhood trauma, depression and self-harm. In the mediation analysis, the indirect effect of treatment was fully explained by its effect on the hypothesised mediator: voice power differential.
Voice power and treatment allocation were the best predictors of harmful compliance up to 18 months; post-treatment, voice power differential measured at nine months was the mediator of the effect of treatment on compliance at 18 months.
A recent editorial claimed that the 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on psychosis and schizophrenia, unlike its equivalent 2013 Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline, is biased towards psychosocial treatments and against drug treatments. In this paper we underline that the NICE and SIGN guidelines recommend similar interventions, but that the NICE guideline has more rigorous methodology. Our analysis suggests that the authors of the editorial appear to have succumbed to bias themselves.
Social disability is a hallmark of severe mental illness yet individual
differences and factors predicting outcome are largely unknown.
To explore trajectories and predictors of social recovery following a
first episode of psychosis (FEP).
A sample of 764 individuals with FEP were assessed on entry into early
intervention in psychosis (EIP) services and followed up over 12 months.
Social recovery profiles were examined using latent class growth
Three types of social recovery profile were identified: Low Stable (66%),
Moderate-Increasing (27%), and High-Decreasing (7%). Poor social recovery
was predicted by male gender, ethnic minority status, younger age at
onset of psychosis, increased negative symptoms, and poor premorbid
Social disability is prevalent in FEP, although distinct recovery
profiles are evident. Where social disability is present on entry into
EIP services it can remain stable, highlighting a need for targeted
Early intervention services (EIS) comprise low-stigma, youth-friendly mental health teams for young people undergoing first-episode psychosis (FEP). Engaging with the family of the young person is central to EIS policy and practice.
By analysing carers' accounts of their daily lives and affective challenges during a relative's FEP against the background of wider research into EIS, this paper explores relationships between carers' experiences and EIS.
Semi-structured longitudinal interviews with 80 carers of young people with FEP treated through English EIS.
Our data suggest that EIS successfully aid carers to support their relatives, particularly through the provision of knowledge about psychosis and medications. However, paradoxical ramifications of these user-focused engagements also emerge; they risk leaving carers' emotions unacknowledged and compounding an existing lack of help-seeking.
By focusing on EIS's engagements with carers, this paper draws attention to an urgent broader question: as a continuing emphasis on care outside the clinic space places family members at the heart of the care of those with severe mental illness, we ask: who can, and should, support carers, and in what ways?
Research suggests that the way in which cognitive therapy is delivered is an important factor in determining outcomes. We test the hypotheses in which the development of a shared problem list, use of case formulation, homework tasks and active intervention strategies will act as process variables.
Presence of these components during therapy is taken from therapist notes. The direct and indirect effect of the intervention is estimated by an instrumental variable analysis.
A significant decrease in the symptom score for case formulation (coefficient =–23, 95% CI –44 to –1.7, P = 0.036) and homework (coefficient =–0.26, 95% CI –0.51 to –0.001, P = 0.049) is found. Improvement with the inclusion of active change strategies is of borderline significance (coefficient =–0.23, 95% CI –0.47 to 0.005, P = 0.056).
There is a greater treatment effect if formulation and homework are involved in therapy. However, high correlation between components means that these may be indicators of overall treatment fidelity.
Clinical observation and retrospective and prospective studies of relapsing psychosis have demonstrated that early symptoms of decompensation are observable in one half to two thirds of patients over a period of 1 to 4 weeks. Whilst the sensitivity of prodromal symptoms is established, their specificity is less certain, particularly at the first episode. The appearance of an “at risk” mental state, if not leading to decompensation, may nevertheless be part of a “transitional” stage to psychosis that is affected by psychological factors concerning the attributions that are made about a change in mental life. The research on prodromal signs is reviewed, with three areas of focus: prodromes as continuous versus discrete phenomena, sensitivity and specificity, and early intervention studies. A psychological model of the transitional process is described with case examples, together with an exploration of its implications for early intervention, again illustrated by case material.
Internalised stigma in young people meeting criteria for at-risk mental states (ARMS) has been highlighted as an important issue, and it has been suggested that provision of cognitive therapy may increase such stigma.
To investigate the effects of cognitive therapy on internalised stigma using a secondary analysis of data from the EDIE-2 trial.
Participants meeting criteria for ARMS were recruited as part of a multisite randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy for prevention and amelioration of psychosis. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months using measures of psychotic experiences, symptoms and internalised stigma.
Negative appraisals of experiences were significantly reduced in the group assigned to cognitive therapy (estimated difference at 12 months was −1.36 (95% Cl −2.69 to −0.02), P = 0.047). There was no difference in social acceptability of experiences (estimated difference at 12 months was 0.46, 95% Cl −0.05 to 0.98, P = 0.079).
These findings suggest that, rather than increasing internalised stigma, cognitive therapy decreases negative appraisals of unusual experiences in young people at risk of psychosis; as such, it is a non-stigmatising intervention for this population.
Interventions to reduce treatment delay in first-episode psychosis have met with mixed results. Systematic reviews highlight the need for greater understanding of delays within the care pathway if successful strategies are to be developed.
To document the care-pathway components of duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and their link with delays in accessing specialised early intervention services (EIS). To model the likely impact on efforts to reduce DUP of targeted changes in the care pathway.
Data for 343 individuals from the Birmingham, UK, lead site of the National EDEN cohort study were analysed.
A third of the cohort had a DUP exceeding 6 months. The greatest contribution to DUP for the whole cohort came from delays within mental health services, followed by help-seeking delays. It was found that delay in reaching EIS was strongly correlated with longer DUP.
Community education and awareness campaigns to reduce DUP may be constrained by later delays within mental health services, especially access to EIS. Our methodology, based on analysis of care pathways, will have international application when devising strategies to reduce DUP.
Despite the evidence showing that young people aged 12-25 years have the highest incidence and prevalence of mental illness across the lifespan, and bear a disproportionate share of the burden of disease associated with mental disorder, their access to mental health services is the poorest of all age groups. A major factor contributing to this poor access is the current design of our mental healthcare system, which is manifestly inadequate for the unique developmental and cultural needs of our young people, if we are to reduce the impact of mental disorder on this most vulnerable population group, transformational change and service redesign is necessary. Here, we present three recent and rapidly evolving service structures from Australia, Ireland and the UK that have each worked within their respective healthcare contexts to reorient existing services to provide youth-specific, evidence-based mental healthcare that is both accessible and acceptable to young people.
It is now known that the onset of severe and recurring mental health problems begins for the most part before the age of 25: this provides a clear focus for preventive strategies and public mental health that are a feature of many health policy frameworks. The present distinction between child and adolescent mental health services and adult services at 16 or 18 does not fit easily with these data and the now well-documented problems of transition suggest that a fundamental review of services for young people is overdue. This supplement provides an overview of the epidemiological, conceptual and service structures for young people with emergent and existing mental health problems, and asks the question, ‘How should we design services for young people to promote prevention and service engagement, and to improve outcomes?’
Background: There has been a recent focus on the interpersonal nature of the voice hearing experience, with studies showing that similar patterns of relating exist between voice hearer and voice as between voice hearer and social others. Two recent therapeutic approaches to voices, Cognitive Therapy for Command Hallucinations and Relating Therapy, have been developed to address patterns of relating and power imbalances between voice hearer and voice. Aims: This paper presents a novel intervention that combines elements of these two therapies, named Cognitive Behavioural Relating Therapy (CBRT). Method: The application of CBRT is illustrated through a clinical case study. Results: The clinical case study showed changes in patterns of relating, improved self-esteem and reductions in voice-related distress. Conclusions: The outcomes provide preliminary support for the utility of CBRT when working with voice hearers.
Decline in social functioning occurs in individuals who later develop psychosis.
To investigate whether baseline differences in disability are present in those who do and those who do not make a transition to psychosis in a group clinically at high risk and whether disability is a risk factor for transition.
Prospective multicentre, naturalistic field study with an 18-month follow-up period on 245 help-seeking individuals clinically at high risk. Disability was assessed with the Disability Assessment Schedule of the World Health Organization (WHODAS–II).
At baseline, the transition group displayed significantly greater difficulties in making new friends (z =−3.40, P = 0.001), maintaining a friendship (z =−3.00, P = 0.003), dealing with people they do not know (z =−2.28, P = 0.023) and joining community activities (z =−2.0, P = 0.05) compared with the non-transition group. In Cox regression, difficulties in getting along with people significantly contributed to the prediction of transition to psychosis in our sample (β = 0.569, s.e. = 0.184, Wald = 9.548, P = 0.002, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.767, 95% CI 1.238–2.550).
Certain domains of social disability might contribute to the prediction of psychosis in a sample clinically at high risk.