Project Update #13: 22 March 2016

Dear colleagues,    

This week Dr Chris Jackson, Clinical Lead for Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP), has provided the video blog. This is one of our five clinical pathways and Chris gives an overview of how this pathway supports young people under the age of 25 experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Hello my name is Chris Jackson and I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) service.

The Birmingham EIP service was originally set up over 20 years ago to help young people and their families recover and adapt to the onset of psychosis. It was the first EIP service in the UK. No two people with a first episode of psychosis are the same and that is why a multi-professional approach is so important. Our EIP teams are made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, social recovery workers and admin staff.

Our aim is to not only help people recover from the symptoms of psychosis but to also help them back into work and training so that they may lead the most personally fulfilled life they can. Often psychosis can also be accompanied by depression, social anxiety and low self-confidence. Our teams are, and will be, set up to help people in all these areas by taking a broad bio-psycho-social approach, which places young people and their families at the heart of their own care and treatment plans. We see people where they want to be seen, which is usually, but not always, in their own homes.

In the new Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) service there will be an EIP team in each of the four integrated hubs. Whilst FTB provides services for 0-25s, EIP will be the only service to take people up to the age of 35. This is because the vast majority of cases of psychosis (over 80%) start between the ages of 14 and 35.

Our service is designed to meet the needs of the young people we support, and also to meet the new Government targets for EIP services, which are designed to make sure that young people with a first episode of psychosis are seen within two weeks of their initial referral. Our service includes:

  • Access to a range of evidenced based medical, psychological and social treatments.
  • The latest medications, CBT, Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) and individual placement support programmes to help people back into work and training
  • A number of programmes to help people look after themselves through better diet, exercise, reduction in smoking and other health related measures

Families and carers are central to the recovery of young people experiencing psychosis for the first time, and we recognise that they too need support In addition to offering family interventions such as BFT we also have a number of carers’ groups run by our staff in the evenings, allowing people to share their experiences and support each other.

As part of FTB the EIP service will build upon our achievements over the last 20 years, but also continue to improve the way we deliver care to young people with psychosis and their families. We very much look forward to being part of a wider 0-25 mental health service and along side other professionals in the 4 integrated hubs and other parts of the city.

Opportunities to work with partners in the voluntary sector, particularly around social inclusion and recovery projects, are very exciting for us and hopefully will open up chances for young people coming through the EIP teams to maximise their opportunities to get out there and realise their goals and ambitions.

Although psychosis can be a serious and distressing condition EIP teams can make a huge difference to people’s lives. Getting help early for psychosis is vital and as with the rest of FTB queries and referrals can be made through the Access Centre.

A father of one of our young service users once said to me:

 “Early intervention has given us a sense of hope, a sense that they can reach their potential despite their illness. I wish that this had been around 30 years ago when my brother first developed psychosis.”

A big thank you to Chris. Things have certainly moved on a lot in the last 20 years and with continued research and innovation the developments will continue,.

With two weeks to go live, the team here is busy finalising operational preparations for our exciting new services and all GPs should have now received a letter providing a clear overview.

Best wishes,

Denise McLellan
Managing Director