Psychosis 101: evaluating a training programme for northern and remote youth mental health service providers

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;7(4):442-50. doi: 10.1111/eip.12044. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Background: Most of the early psychosis intervention (EPI) training has focused on family physicians participants. In Northern Ontario, there is a shortage of primary care. This paper will present evaluation results of a pilot training programme for rural and remote youth mental health service providers.

Method: A mixed methods approach was used. We evaluated a 2-day workshop about EPI for non-medical mental health workers delivered onsite and simultaneously by videoconferencing. There were 19 participants across four agencies. Seven were onsite and 12 were offsite. Participants' knowledge was measured using a validated questionnaire at pre-intervention and at 3-, 6- and 9-month follow up. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to evaluate knowledge acquisition between the two modes of training. At 6 months, focus group interviews were conducted to explore their experiences of the mode of intervention delivery and evaluation. Emerging themes were iteratively derived through a series of discussions involving independent coders.

Results: Only 15 complete datasets were available of the 19 original participants. Differences in knowledge acquisition between the two groups did not reach statistical difference. Six-month focus group data indicated that participants improved their relationship with EPI services and they were part of a strengthened network with other providers in the region. Post-intervention, the accuracy of referrals from participating agencies increased dramatically, with an increase in proportion of referrals who were eligible for EPI services. The follow-up process engaged participants in learning and re-engaged them with the material taught during the training session.

Conclusions: The results about developing service partnerships and relationship with specialist services are encouraging for policy and service decision-makers to address mental health service needs in northern and remote areas.

Keywords: continuing education; early psychosis intervention; remote learning; rural health service; telepsychiatry.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Early Medical Intervention / supply & distribution
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Ontario
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Psychotic Disorders / prevention & control
  • Rural Health Services / supply & distribution*